The antivaccine movement wins in Oregon: Senate Bill 442 is dead

How quickly things change.

If there's one thing I always feel obligated to warn my fellow pro-science advocates about vaccines and the antivaccine movement, it's that we can never rest on our laurels or assume that the tide is turning in our direction. The reason is simple: Antivaccinationism is a powerful belief system, every bit as powerful as religion and political ideology. It's powerful not just among antivaccinationists, but also because it taps into belief systems that are very much part and parcel of being an American. In fact, depressingly, yesterday I learned of a perfect example of this unfortunate phenomenon. Remember my discussion of Oregon Senate Bill 442? It's a bill that was being considered in Oregon in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It's also the same bill that chiropractors (amazingly) wanted to have antivaccine guru Andrew Wakefield testify in front of the Senate health care committee, but that plan was rendered null and void by the justifiably negative reaction to the possibility of having a scientific fraud like Andrew Wakefield testify against a bill. At the time, I thought that was an indication that the bill might have a chance of passing.

I was wrong. I should have known better. The power of the antivaccine dog whistle is not easily denied. If you don't believe me, take a peak at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism and what it posted last night, basically a link to this article in the the Statesman Journal entitled Oregon senator to propose new school vaccine policy:

Oregon legislators are backing off a proposal that would have made it tougher for school children to opt out of vaccinations.

Instead, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward said Wednesday she will propose a different policy that would encourage more school children to get vaccinated but continue to allow nonmedical exemptions. It also would provide alternative paths for parents to comply with the law.

Senate Bill 442, which had one public hearing and attracted national attention, would have eliminated religious and philosophical exemptions from school shots. Only medical exemptions would have been allowed.

So why did this happen? Why did Steiner back off? Simple. pressure from an unholy coalition of antivaccine loons and "health freedom" advocates:

Before the bill's first public hearing, Steiner Hayward was confident it had the majority of votes in both the Senate and the House. However, on Wednesday, she said that support had weakened, necessitating an alternate course.

"Some of my colleagues changed their minds," she said. "They got a lot of pressure one way or another. This is an issue that really mobilizes a very small minority of people, but it makes them very loud. I get that. That's their right. But there were a bunch of people who weren't prepared to take on this controversial of a topic at this point."

While the bill had strong support from public health and medical leaders, including Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Medical Association and Providence Health & Services, a vocal group of parents who either delay or avoid vaccines for their children has been active in opposing the bill.

While many are concerned about vaccine safety, some opposed the bill on grounds of medical freedom and parental autonomy.

If you want to know how bad things got in Oregon, consider this. After the furor over the invitation by chiropractors to Andrew Wakefield to testify in front of the Senate committee, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr—RFK, Jr.!—lobbied Oregon lawmakers not to pass this bill. As a result, the bill appears to be dead, although it sounds as though Sen. Steiner wants to try to pass a bill similar to California Bill AB 2109, which requires parents seeking a personal belief exemption to vaccine mandates to see a health care professional to sign the exemption form. the purpose, as I discussed before multiple times when AB 2109 was being considered, was to make it more difficult for parents to claim personal belief exemptions than just signing a form. Even then, Governor Jerry Brown neutered the new law with a signing statement instructing the California Department of Public Health to include on the exemption form a religious exemption that doesn't require a healthcare professional to cosign the form. It was a profound betrayal of California children and an almost certainly unconstitutional abuse of his authority as Governor in which he basically overrode the legislature's intent.

So, instead of a strong bill that eliminates nonmedical exemptions to vaccine mandates, Oregon is likely to pass a much weaker bill, although even that is not assured, given the fierce resistance of antivaccine groups, who have been relentless. In the meantime, there is even a legislator, Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who is considering this, ""Ultimately, we probably need to review whether or not Oregon needs a constitutional amendment to make sure parents are in control of their kids' health care." Meanwhile, another legislator, Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, published a newsletter saying he believed vaccines are linked to autism and accusing the CDC of mismanagement and corruption, both of which are talking points "made in the documentary Kennedy showed to lawmakers last week." What documentary was that?

Trace Amounts:

He showed the documentary "Trace Amounts," which centers on mercury in vaccines and its relationship to autism, at Cinebarre in downtown Salem. The documentary also accuses government researchers and public health agencies of corruption and fraud.

Kennedy made the trip to Salem with one goal. To influence lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 442, the vaccine mandate bill.

It wasn't just Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., either:

Kennedy was accompanied by Brian Hooker, a California biomechanical engineer. Hooker wrote a reanalysis of a 2004 research that found no links between the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine and autism. In the paper, Hooker accuses the CDC of covering up data that showed black boys had a 3.4 times greater risk of autism associated with the MMR vaccine.

Hooker's study, which was published in Translational Neurodegeneration in October 2014, has been retracted. The retraction statement reads that "post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings."

Despite that, Hooker's findings continue to be used to argue against vaccines.

You remember Brian Hooker, don't you? Think "CDC Whistleblower" pseudo-scandal. Think a reanalysis of the 2004 DeStefano et al paper that was so utterly incompetent that even a brand new journal eager to attract submissions saw no other choice but to retract it. Think a biochemical engineer who believes that the simplest statistical methodology is the best and applied it to the DeStefano et al data in such a way that epidemiologists who saw what he did wanted to tear out their eyes to unsee the atrocity against epidemiology he had committed in the name of "simplicity." (Let's just put it this way: "Simple" often means not adjusting for confounding factors.")

I've discussed the concept of the "antivaccine dog whistle" on multiple occasions before. A dog whistle, of course, produces a sound at a higher frequency range than most humans can hear, but dogs can hear it. In politics, a "dog whistle" says something that most of the population finds admirable (or at least inoffensive), but people of certain groups recognize it as speaking to them, as telling them that the person blowing the dog whistle is "one of them." It's a technique that's been used of late by everyone from antivaccine-sympathetic pediatricians like "Dr. Bob" Sears to Rand Paul to the aforementioned Oregon Sen. Robert Kruse to, yes, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

Kennedy made the trip to Salem with one goal. To influence lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 442, the vaccine mandate bill.

"We can't solve a credibility problem by forcing people to undergo a medical procedure without informed consent," Kennedy said before the event.

That "health freedom" argument in which vaccine mandates are portrayed as denying parents "informed consent"? Pure antivaccine dog whistle, an appeal to parental "rights" over the rights of their children. True, it's not as blatant as Rand Paul's infamous statement, "The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom." It does, however, do what most antivaccine appeals to "freedom" and "informed consent" do, and that's to ignore the child as an autonomous being. Rather, the child is simply an appendage of the parent, and it is the parents' "freedom" and "rights" that trump the child's right to good health care and preventive medicine.

More importantly, as I've explained multiple times, what antivaccinationists like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are really arguing for is something I've dubbed "misinformed consent." That's consent based on the antivaccine message, which massively exaggerates risks of vaccination, makes up risks that science has not found despite looking intensively (such as autism due to vaccination), and greatly underplaying the benefits of vaccination. If enough misinformation is aimed at parents to demonize vaccines as dangerous and ineffective and the parents accept that information, either because they don't know any better or because there is no counterbalancing source of information, then it becomes "reasonable" to refuse vaccinations. That is the very essence of misinformed consent.

Lately, the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher herself, has been dog whistling up a storm, invoking language favored on the right of the "culture war" in a post entitled The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready?:

In this case, in addition to the usual appeals to "freedom" and "rights," Barbara Loe Fisher takes a particularly despicable turn:

More than 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV 1 but government officials do not ban HIV infected children and adults from attending school, receiving medical care, being employed, or otherwise participating in society. In fact, there are anti-discrimination laws that guarantee civil rights protections for Americans infected with HIV or living with AIDS.

In 2012, public health officials reported that about two million people in America are infected with chlamydia, tuberculosis, syphilis and gonorrhea, 3 and they estimate another three million people are infected with hepatitis C. 4 Like those with HIV or AIDS, these citizens are not targeted for discrimination and blocked from getting a public education, being employed or moving freely in society.

Right off the bat, Fisher is being intellectually dishonest to a degree even beyond what I'm used to seeing from her. You can see her setting up a comparison to unvaccinated children by comparing how they are not allowed to go to school with how children with AIDS and various sexually transmitted diseases are. It's clearly and blatantly an attempt to argue that the government treats people with these diseases better than it treats unvaccinated children. Of course, HIV is not easy to spread. It requires sex or contact with blood or bodily fluids like semen, and even then it's not that easy to catch. Hepatitis C also requires direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, although it is much easier to spread by those means than HIV. The rest of the diseases, with the exception of tuberculosis, are all sexually transmitted diseases that won't spread unless the kids are having sex.

Tuberculosis itself is—fortunately—no longer that common in the US, and, if it has been treated properly, rapidly becomes no longer contagious. Moreover, if a case of active TB is identified in a student, health officials do take strong action. It just happened in Oklahoma a week ago, when a student with active TB was identified. This student was isolated and treated, and 315 students were ordered to undergo TB testing.

So what's the problem? The diseases vaccinated against, with the exception of HPV, vaccination against which is intended to prevent cervical cancer, the diseases vaccinated against for school are highly contagious. Measles, for instance, is one of the most contagious diseases known to humans, with infective particles hanging in the air for long periods of time after a measles victim coughs. To compare a bunch of diseases transmitted by sexual contact and blood contact with diseases spread through the air with droplets or through contact with fomites is as intellectually dishonest as it gets. In any event, the rest of Fisher's tirade is a "greatest hits" of recent antivaccine responses to the Disneyland measles outbreak (e.g., this one) and any whiff of a hint that states want to restrict non-medical vaccine exemptions, with complaints about censorship, "shaming," and concerns about revocation of the licenses of antivaccine doctors (this last of which, by the way, will almost certainly never happen anywhere).

Here's where Fisher goes into full dog whistle mode:

Rational thinking has been the first casualty in this 21st century equivalent of a 17th century witch hunt 43 led by defensive doctors in government, industry, academia and media, who are fed up with parents asking them questions about vaccine risks and failures they can’t answer. 44 45 46 47 Assisted by communication conglomerates 48 and Astroturfers, 49 50 51 52 53 they piously wave the science flag and call parents “anti-social” if they don’t vaccinate 54 but completely ignore parents with vaccine injured children talking about how their vaccinated children are never healthy anymore. 55 Some of the most vicious attacks have been on families consciously choosing to stay healthy a different way 56 57 and on doctors caring for families whose children are unvaccinated or receive fewer vaccines on an altered vaccine schedule. 58 59

After headlines like “What would Jesus do about measles?” 60 and “God wants you to vaccinate your children” 61 marked a new low in American journalism, it became clear that the so-called “vaccine war” 62 63 is really a culture war 64 on freedoms, values and beliefs that have long defined who we are as a nation. 65 66 67 How it is fought and where it ends will determine the kind of nation America will become in the 21st century.

Funny that Barbara Loe Fisher would make a reference to the 17th century, given that the views that lead her to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about vaccines derive from ideas dating back at least that far. In any case, notice how neatly she co-opts the language favored on the right of the "culture war," language that was rose to prominence when Pat Buchanan, in his speech at the 1992 Republican Party Convention, declared a "cultural war," a "struggle for the soul of America." Her video is about as obvious an example of the antivaccine dog whistle as I've been able to find, in which it's not really about vaccines but rather about "freedom," "values," and what America should be.

If you want to know why antivaccinationists use this rhetoric, look no further than Oregon. It works. It taps into a very deep well of distrust of overweening government dating back to the very formation of our country and deeply embedded into the very DNA of our culture. Because of that, it attracts people who are not antivaccine to work for antivaccine goals, such as easier-to-obtain non-medical exemptions, all in the name of freedom. It's why antivaccinationists won in Oregon even in the middle of a major measles outbreak, an outbreak that's accounted for 119 cases in Quebec alone due to a the child of a missionary who visited Disneyland on the way home and brought measles to a religious community whose members don't vaccinate. It worked even though the Disneyland measles outbreak had seemingly turned the tide of public opinion against the antivaccine movement. Antivaccine loons will quite possibly win in California again against a similar bill designed to eliminate non-medical exemptions, SB 227 for the same reasons. Antivaccine activists appeal to emotion because they don't have the science, but it's a potent weapon, as emotion frequently does trump science. It's not enough for us to fight antivaccinationism with science. We have to find a message as potent as the invocation of freedom to counter the antivaccine dog whistle. Until we do, we will likely continue to lose.

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Unfortunately, we cannot fight fire with fire on this one. We can't lie. We can't missinform. We can't make spurious associations between things and publish papers to be retracted. The cult of the antivaxxers operates on the same principle as terrorism in that they only need one win to get their ideology to be heard. They only need one child to have a bad reaction to a vaccine, one lot of vaccines to be recalled, or one misstep from one of us to have a big impact on their followers and on those siting on the fence. We have millions of scientists, yet they wave Hooker and Wakefield around as if they're the high priests of all that is science. We have millions of committed physicians that love their patients and do what is best for them. They have Sears and Gordon, two men with medical degrees, to tear apart the truth that pediatricians the world over see vaccines as life savers and see even a handful of measles cases as an enormous threat. We have thousands of hours invested in our educations, verified our knowledge through exams and certifications... They have Google.
We have your blog, my blog, Todd W's blog, to explain in clear language what the science means. They have their blogs and celebrity spokespeople to obfuscate the truth. And now I have this entire comment while they're likely to take the "terrorist" part and accuse everyone who comments here of calling them terrorists.
It makes me wonder why I'm heading into Baltimore to take a biostats final exam... Oh, that's right. It's so I don't make an ass out of myself and have people laugh at me for thinking that simple statistics are more elegant than actual statistics.

A similar lobbying effort is being made by antivaccinationists in Minnesota to block a bill that would require parents be informed about the risks and benefits of vaccines before they can get a philosophical exemption. More info on that here.

I have to admit I can't be entirely rational when viewing the Barbara Loe Fischer' video. The appeals to emotion on which she relies have the opposite effect on me: it makes me ANGRY to hear her treat vaccine exemption as equivalent to HIV status in legal protection. As though being HIV+ is something that people choose to do. The rhetoric is just sharp enough to hide the fact that her viewpoint is based on fear, uncertainty and doubt.

By c0nc0rdance (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

An effort to eliminate personal exemptions in Washington state died yesterday too.

Getting vaccines is about having freedom, actual, authentic freedom, not the ersatz "treat your children like chattel" freedom that anti-vaccine activists promote.

Freedom from illness. Freedom from injury and death. Freedom from the fear of these things.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

What is truly sad here is that public health policy is being decided by who is screaming the loudest instead of rational examination of medical and scientific evidence. If the people of Oregon would rather follow the misinformation and flat out lies of completely unqualified stooges like Kennedy, Hooker and Wakefield then their children will ultimately pay the price.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Did some reading on newsletter articles by Senator Jeff Kruse, the Vice-Chair of the Oregon Senate Committee On Health Care. State Senator Kruse is a turkey farmer by occupation, and his newsletter is a hilarious collection of anti-science essays:

Here's a taste, verbatim:
"The issue is not the vaccine itself; it is the chemicals they put in the vaccine to extend the life of the product which are mercury and aluminum. I have believed for some time that there is a real link between vaccinations and autism, and it is connected to these two chemicals. Unfortunately the CDC continues to deny any connection and will not allow access to the data which would either prove or disprove the assertion. Our frustration is we are not allowed access to the hard science we need and should have access to. It should also be pointed out there is no accountability, as the CDC is both judge and jury in the matter."

By c0nc0rdance (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Re: Jeff Kruse, yes, he's the vice-chair of the health committee that would have had to vote affirmatively on this measure before it could advance to the senate as a whole.

His other views include support for anti-immigration policies and global warming denialism. He's in favor of the use of GE crops, though, so I wrote to him and asked whether he was aware that every single argument in his newsletter against vaccines had been used virtually word for word against GMOs (BigAg corruption, revolving door FDA, not enough safety studies, glyphosate causes autism, toxins, toxins, toxins).

Sadly, he hasn't written me back.

Just consider this exhibit Q that antivax sentiments do not confine themselves to a single political party. This is a sobering loss, to be sure, but we're not done trying.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

“The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”

This statement made me think about a question. Would those people rise to defend a person who took a gun and shot their child in the head? No reason, just because they could.

Because really, why shouldn't parents be allowed to do that? That is serious limitation of their freedom to do as they want with their "property".

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I thought RFK Jr claimed he was NOT anti vaccination and he was simply concerned about "mercury" in vaccines. His actions opposing the Oregon bill certainly put the lie to that. What a loathsome piece of work he is.

Ren @ 1: The real fire is not the lying & so on, it's the use of emotional messaging. And we can fight that fire with a far more powerful fire, all of it squarely based in facts.

The antis' emotional messages have two parts: One, "freedom," the other, "fear."

Stirring up "freedom" emotions basically comes down to making a value statement: "Freedom is a good feeling. You feel more free when nobody can tell you what to do." As a generalization, that's _true_, but the angels are in the generalizations and the devils are in the details. The good feeling is one of unfettered ego, which, taken to an unreasonable level, is easily identified as egotism.

Stirring up "fear" is where the overt lying etc. comes in, and we all know the list.

What do we do about that? To counter an emotional message effectively, requires invoking and inducing emotions that overcome and/or that transfer the emotions that the other side is seeking to invoke and induce.

Fear can be transferred, and this one is easy: The fear of autism is a "modern" fear, but it pales into insignificance next to the ancient and deeply-engrained fear of measles and other life-threatening contagious diseases. This we saw when the outbreak was all over the news.

Freedom has a complimentary civic value: responsibility and good citizenship. Freedom without responsibility is seen as recklessness or selfishness, both of which bring scorn that partially nullifies whatever pleasure comes from feeling "more free." Invoking the feeling of responsibility and good citizenship successfully, works in two steps: One, invoking guilt, shame, contempt, etc. toward unacceptable behaviors. Two, invoking a shift of ego identification toward responsibility as an expression of maturity.

Examples:

Slogan for use as headline on print media ads: "Measles is eight times as contagious as Ebola. Do the right thing. Protect your child and your child's friends." The first sentence is literally true, it intrinsically evokes fear, and any attempt to refute it is easily found to be an overt lie. The second sentence is a value statement appealing to the sense of responsibility. The third sentence is the action that the audience is asked to perform, and it identifies the individual child with the community at-large.

TV or radio spot: "The sound you are hearing in the background, is the sound of a baby with whooping cough. (here are some facts about whooping cough, etc.). Do the right thing. Protect your child and your child's friends." Here the audio invokes fear, and the closing lines invoke identification with the sense of responsibility.

Any testimonials by people who survived these diseases, were disabled by them, or know someone who was seriously ill, disabled, or died as a result, will also evoke fear that makes the fear of autism seem insignificant.

Statements about civic responsibility and good citizenship, by respected figures, will evoke the relevant feelings and the desire to be identified with those feelings and figures.

Putting these elements together using evocative symbols and statements, and (important) using sufficient repetition to become familiar, will overcome the antis' messages and make them seem selfish and irresponsible. This probably won't change any antis' minds, but it can reach undecideds or people who are leaning anti. And if the antis try to argue against a civic responsibility message, they will only expose themselves further as being utterly selfish and lose support.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Legitimate public health risks aside... has anybody considered the possibility that attempting to enshrine scientific consensus into law is a really, really, really, BAD idea?

I don't know what you mean, Matt--in what way is that happening in this situation?

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Gray and Ren > unfortunately in the political arena emotional appeals so often hold they day. The muck one gets into in legislative business always leaves an honest person feeling slimy. Having worked at advocacy for some time now I find focusing on the outcomes makes the inevitable appeal to emotion slightly palatable. Though facts are a very important backbone, they have to couched in rhetoric that appeals to the audience.

"But there were a bunch of [cowards] who weren’t prepared to take on this controversial of a topic at this point.”

FTFY, Senator Steiner.

I was just speaking on general philosophical grounds- not specifically to this bill.

Taking a look at this bill in particular I see now that it doesn't do that.

It does, however, declare a state of emergency. A poor choice, and dishonest in my opinion.

Scientific consensus is not in any way being enshrined in law--instead, legislation addressing public health policies are being rationally informed by scientific consensus.

Which is, or course, exactly as things should be.

So, let's see if I understand correctly:

"Health Freedom" doesn't matter when I want to put other people at risk by smoking in a restaurant

BUT

"Health Freedom" DOES matter when I want to put other people at risk by not giving my kid the polio vaccine

And nobody in Oregon sees the problem with this?

By Wolfbeckett (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Commenters at AoA appear to be quite happy.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

It does, however, declare a state of emergency. A poor choice, and dishonest in my opinion.

Only in the language of policy, which translates to the ability to enact the new measures as soon as the bill passes, rather than waiting for it to grind through months of procedural paperwork. Opponents like JB Handley made a lot of hay out of 'emergency?? I don't see any emergency!!' mockery, but a cursory understanding of the legislative system reveals that it's a strategic characterization that's used fairly routinely.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

To Todd W. on comment #2-

Thank you for that information. Reading through the post that you linked to, I noticed that only certain representatives and senators were mentioned as people to contact. Why not the others as well? Does this mean that the others are definitely in favor of SF380/HF 393?

A policy is different from a law. Policies are set by agencies which are typically authorized by law to create said policies.

Policies can, and should, be rationally informed by scientific consensus because, as policies, they can be updated and changed if and when the consensus changes.

Laws are much more difficult to change. As evidenced by the plethora of outdated (and ridiculous) laws on the books. For example, laws forbidding one to swear in front of a lady, or have sex in any position other than missionary.

Lately, there are attempts springing up to use the force of law to compel people to follow their doctor's advice. Vaccination is just one example. In my opinion, this is a really, really, really BAD idea.

Perhaps- similar to what was proposed in this here bill- people (including apparently Congresspeople) should be required to demonstrate that they understand how our legal system works before attempting to tinker with the laws.

@Jen Phillps

That you refer to it as a "tactic" proves my point. Words have specific meanings. The entire idea behind laws themselves rely upon words having particular meanings which everybody can agree upon.

When we change the meaning of words for reasons of "tactics" or expediency (in other words because we're too lazy to do it the right way) we undermine the entire fabric of linguistics upon which the whole concept of law is predicated.

"Commenters at AoA appear to be quite happy."

I have it on good authority that Wakefield open-mouth kissed Hooker... On the mouth.

Lately, there are attempts springing up to use the force of law to compel people to follow their doctor’s advice. Vaccination is just one example. In my opinion, this is a really, really, really BAD idea.

What? The LAW already requires that children be vaccinated as a condition of attending school or daycare. That's why the language attached to all these subsequent bills deal with "exemptions" [to the pre-existing law]. It's constitutionally established that matters of public health trump personal health freedom. Just as smoking in the theater or being naked in a convenience store, etc. are violations of established health codes, so is being unvaccinated in school. In all cases, states are allowed to regulate their own exemptions and enforcements.

Clarification of this point is really important, IMO. Many people banging the health freedom drum interpreted SB 442 as "MANDATORY VACCINATIONS OMG", which is not at all the case. Had it passed, parents would still be able to choose not to vaccinate, they just wouldn't be able to enroll their kids in school or daycare.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

That you refer to it as a “tactic” proves my point. Words have specific meanings. The entire idea behind laws themselves rely upon words having particular meanings which everybody can agree upon.

When we change the meaning of words for reasons of “tactics” or expediency (in other words because we’re too lazy to do it the right way) we undermine the entire fabric of linguistics upon which the whole concept of law is predicated.

Jeez, dude. Look, if you feel that the use of the word 'emergency' is so empirical that you cannot abide its utterance outside of a very specific set of circumstances, whatever. I'm not going to argue semantics with you. My point is that, at the present time, this is how the political system works. 'emergency', in that parlance, means 'expedient'. Most importantly, the characterization of emergency status was NOT unique to this bill.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Policies are set by agencies which are typically authorized by law to create said policies.

Policies are also defiined through legislation--what other than public health policies addressing prophylactic vaccination would the now-quashed legislation eliminating non-medical exemptions have affected?

Lately, there are attempts springing up to use the force of law to compel people to follow their doctor’s advice.

What laws are you speaking of? I'm aware of none.

There have been, to be sure, attempts to craft laws which again address or establish public health policy (such as California's 2009 legislation banning restaurants from using of trans-fats), but I know of none that atempt to force ndividuals to comply with their doctor's recommendations.

@Jill

I included the emails for the representatives and senators on the respective committees reviewing the bills. Those who are not listed, I wasn't able to find emails for at the time I was writing the post. While it would be useful to contact other state legislators, those are the key members to convince of the facts at the moment.

@Jen Phillips

Apparently, you are of the opinion that we can just willy-nilly change the definitions of words to suit our purposes in the moment.

As such- there is no point in me conversing with you further as I cannot be assured that the words we exchange will be held to commonly-accepted definitions.

Have fun re-inventing language for the "greater good." I hope it doesn't work out for you.

And nobody in Oregon sees the problem with this?

I highly doubt that nobody in Oregon sees the problem with this, having lived there for a time myself.

Have fun re-inventing language for the “greater good.” I hope it doesn’t work out for you.

LOL. Have fun sticking to your premise that words can only mean one specific thing in all contexts. I'll bet there are some creationists out there who'd love to have your support over the definition of the word "theory".

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I have to admit the picture looked so happy I misread this as SB442 passing at first.

By justthestats (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

A few points:

A. It's especially ironic in my view that NVIC, for example, opposes not just attempts to restrict exemptions but also resolutions and statements to encourage higher vaccination rates (and of course educational requirements). More than anything I think that highlights that it's really about reducing vaccine use, not increasing vaccine choice.

B. We can and should take the language of rights back. The people arguing against restricting exemptions are -
1. As Orac highlighted, preferring their right (specifically their right to reject science) over their children's right to health.

2. Even if we accept that they have a right to choose the bigger risk for their own child - the risk of disease - school immunization requirements aren't about that: they're about their right to impose the result of that choice on other parents and children, by making school environments less safe for those children. People do not have a right to do that.

3. This isn't about forcing people to take medical advice. Absent a court order, a parent still has to consent to a vaccine. But choices have consequences, and it doesn't follow that refusing a vaccine means you get a free pass.

C. It might be good to remember - and highlight - that the general law is the law of school immunization requirements. People requesting exemptions are requiring waiver of the general law applicable to everyone else. They're asking not to be subject to the usual requirements. This means:

i. It's completely fair to condition the waiver on whatever conditions the state wants.

ii. They're asking for a privilege. I think letting them claim the mantle of freedom when they are really asking that reasonable, important laws that apply to everyone else not apply to them is giving a free pass to special treatment. They're not asking for equality or non-discrimination: like people asking for tax exemptions, they want the laws - and the societal burdens - to apply to others, but not to them.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Matt

Seriously? Having mandatory vaccination in specific contexts is going to lead to/condone forced incarceration or circumcision?

By your logic, maybe we should disband child protection services. Same stuff. These government agencies are here to enforce policies and laws telling parents what they should do or not do to their children.

Read on the slippery slope fallacy.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

No, Matt: that isn't an example of criminalizing the failure to obey one's doctor's orders.

Thats an example of a woman being arrested for willful refusal to abide by the terms of a joint custody agreement in place between herself and the child's father.

I agee that in your second example the judge's order that the woman be required to submit to her physician's care and that they be allowed to physically prevent her from leaving the hospital was a violation of her constitutional rights, but again this doesn't represent an example of a law enacted requiring patients follow their physicians orders or advice. It's a judge, issuing an order from the bench directed at a single individual, and as far as I can tell without any legal basis.

Your second link appears broken.

Air travel now involves mandatory violation of personal rights, specifically, the right to be free from search and seizure without probable cause. You are free to refuse this violation by choosing alternative means of travel. How is making vaccination a requirement for public school admission any different?

How is making vaccination a requirement for public school admission any different?

I've asked numerous variations of that question over the past months. The answer is always something like "Because [air travel] doesn't involve injecting dangerous toxins and aborted fetuses into my child."

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Going by evidence-based science regarding infectious disease, I'd be hard-pressed to say anti-vaxers in the Oregon community "won" anything. But, if portlandians feel like taking themselves out of the gene pool, more power to them.

Matt: You know nothing about public health law and education law. That's why the Oregon State legislature had a "bill" sponsored by an Oregon State Senator. Most States have two legislative bodies (Nebraska is a a unicameral State). Once the bill is passed in States' legislative chambers and is signed into law by the Governor, those bills become laws.

Seriously, get a clue.

@Ren and @Gray Squirrel:
The antis are way more social media-savvy than we are. Just check out all the eye-popping misinfographics they have. We need people who know how to do things like that that people actually share and actually influence people who aren't following ScienceBlogs every day.

By justthestats (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@MarkN--
not just Portlandians, lots of folks in Eugene and Southern Oregon as well.

I'm not ok with the idea that anyone should suffer from VPD as a result of this stupidity, but knowing that the suffering won't be restricted to the unvaccinated by choice makes it even harder to bear.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@#33 Well yes, that was a bit of hyperbole on my part, in this case "nobody" should be read as "the clowns who are calling the shots".

By Wolfbeckett (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

By the way, the comments on that Statesman-Journal article linked in the OP are teeming with every antivax conspiracy theory ever conceived. In the interest of spreading the word beyond Scienceblogs, please consider chiming in.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Vijay

As usually, the devil is in the detail. Actually, let me quote the abstract of the article you linked to:

An encouraging trend is that the incidence of acute hepatitis B in the United States declined as much as 80% between 1987 and 2004, attributable to effective vaccination programs as well as universal precautions in needle use and in healthcare in general. While encouraging, these decreases in acute infections have not translated into diminished prevalence or burden of chronic HBV infection. The prevalence for HBV in the United States has been estimated to be approximately 0.4%. However, these estiamtes have been based upon surveys conducted in samples in which population groups with high prevalence of HBV infection, namely foreign-born minorities, were underrepresented.

In short, the reason Hep B-related deaths augmented may have something to do with the underestimation of actually sick people and the recent arrival in US of people from regions where hepB is more active.

As to not very contagious... It depends on what you do. As a biologist, I am expected to have to manipulate blood and other bits of human origin and this vaccine was mandatory for me before attending university.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Helianthus

Yes, the devil is in the details. Everything has pros and cons. According to this statement from AAPS:

"For most children, the risk of a serious vaccine reaction may be 100 times greater than the risk of hepatitis B."

http://www.aapsonline.org/testimony/hepbcom.htm

Even so, I have nothing against the Hep B vaccine. But you can't mandate anything that YOU believe is good for others.
Can I mandate broccoli for you thrice a week?

Vijay,

Moreover, the number of Hep B deaths have actually increased after the introduction of the vaccine in 1990.

I would hazard a guess that this is a baby boomers phenomenon. There is a mass of people born post-WW2 currently heading into old age, and we will see a rise in death rates from all causes as a result, despite a falling birth rate. Some of those baby boomers will have hepatitis B, which takes decades to cause liver cancer and death, so the effects of vaccination on deaths have not yet had time to become apparent, if you see what I mean.

As for it not being very contagious, I worked with a woman who discovered she had contracted the virus, presumably from working with blood, as she wasn't in a high-risk group. She had cleared it uneventfully, as most people do, and only found out when her antibody titres were checked.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vijay,
AAPS is not considered a reliable source of information by reputable doctors. They are a bunch of right wing loonies, in my opinion.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

But, if portlandians feel like taking themselves out of the gene pool, more power to them.

1. It's Portlanders, not Portlandians.
2. Watch it.

@Krebiozen,
Okay, let us ignore AAPS. Can you go to your trusted sources and fill in the blank in the following sentence:

“For most children, the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction is ____ times the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection.”

What if this spreads to other areas outside of Oregon, like Austin , TX or Boulder, CO? What if the anti-vax movement is nothing mire than the right wing trying to take out the lefties???

Maybe the problem lies with trying an approach using medical science, instead use more of an irrational approach.

If you can convince the anti-vaxxers that really it is a conspiracy as they all feared, that the conservatives are trying the infectious disease approach, getting these liberal communities to reduce voter numbers by not vaccinating. YES, that's how you do it.

If we have to lose a few neonates along the way, well that's certainly a sacrifice the anti-vaxxers are willing to make for everyone.

Hey JP,

bicycle rights!!

I f*cking hate that show.

Mainly because it's not even funny.

I wonder what the antivaxxers will do if other countries pass laws that prohibit entry into their country unless your vaccinations are up-to-date and you can provide proof that they are so?

By SelenaWolf (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

“For most children, the risk of a serious vaccine reaction may be 100 times greater than the risk of hepatitis B.”

http://www.aapsonline.org/testimony/hepbcom.htm

She did some VAERS dumpster-diving to come up with that number rot.

“For most children, the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction is ____ times the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection.”

Orders of magnitude less than.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vijay,

Okay, let us ignore AAPS. Can you go to your trusted sources and fill in the blank in the following sentence:
“For most children, the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction is ____ times the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection.”

The risk of a serious reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine is in the region of 1 in 1.1 million.

In the US 12 million people have been infected, making the lifetime risk of infection roughly 1 in 30. In children under 19 alone, 3.4 per million are infected.

Based on that I would rearrange your sentence as follows:

For most children, the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection is 3 times the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction.

Following the child into adulthood, it's more like:

For most children, the lifetime risk of getting a hepatitis B infection is 36,000 times the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction.

These are very rough ballpark estimates but I hope they help.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

AAPS is not considered a reliable source of information by reputable doctors. They are a bunch of right wing loonies, in my opinion.
Krebiozen is too kind. I go for "The John Birch Society with stethoscopes".

and their now defunct journal
The JAP&S is still extant.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

BTW, Matt, whoever you are, you come across as someone with an ax to grind. Perhaps I should ask: Which vaccines do you consider effective and safe and why?

Laws are much more difficult to change. As evidenced by the plethora of outdated (and ridiculous) laws on the books. For example, laws forbidding one to swear in front of a lady, or have sex in any position other than missionary.

For someone who is nattering on about the meanings of words, you seem to have an awfully loose grasp on "evidenced."

"For most children, the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction is ____ times the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection.”

FTFY Vijay:

"For ALL children, acquiring Hep B infection/remaining as a lifelong carrier and at risk for fulminant liver disease or hepatocellular cancer, is thousands of times the risk of receiving hepatitis vaccine".

Vijay, hepatitis B is on the list because:

It's a highly contagious disease

It's spread by contact with infectious blood and body fluids and not only through sexual contact or intravenous drug use

Exposure to hep B can result in development of a chronic infection, where one is asymptomatic but has significant circulating elvels of hep B virus, making one a potential vector for new infection

65% of all people who have a chronic hep B infection are completely unaware of the fact that they are infected

The likelihood of developing a chronic he B infection following exposure is inversely related to age at the time of exposure (the younger you are, the greater the risk)

80–90% of infants infected during the first year of life develop chronic infections and 30–50% of children infected before the age of 6 years develop chronic infections.

Overall 30 to 40% of all chronic hep B infections are acquired during childhood

20 to 40% of chronically infected individuals will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer as adults

In the US alone there are roughly 1.3 million chronically infected individuals, and we record between 2000 to 3000 deaths associated with chronic hep B every year

And finally

The hep B vaccine is 95% effective at preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis B

That answer your question?

Matt:

Here’s an example:
Arrest Warrant Issued for Florida Mom Who Refuses to Get Son Circumcised

I hope this is not intended as an example of "attempts springing up to use the force of law to compel people to follow their doctor’s advice", because following the link, it has nothing to do with medicine or doctors.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Gray Squirrel:
Your first example would make an excellent basis for an infographic that could be socially mediaed. Anyone here have the skills to make it or knows someone who does?

By justthestats (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Krebiozen
"For most children, the risk of getting a hepatitis B infection is 3 times the risk of a serious Hep B vaccine reaction."

But do you know that most cases of childhood infection are caused by mothers who are infected with hep B? So for kids whose mothers are not infected, the risk is much lower--lower than the risk of a serious vaccine reaction.

But you still believe that the hep B vaccine should be mandatory for a one-day old infant whose mother is not infected?

(Teenagers or adults can decide for themselves whether they want a hep B vaccine. It is also safer by then.)

That anti-vaxxers sure hate the Hep B shot. Perhaps Matt is not aware that one of the main ways babies get Hep B is at birth from their mothers. The birth shot is intended to reduce that risk. Though if the mother is known to be infected at birth the child will get vaccine and immune globulin at birth to further reduce their risk of contracting the infection. Besides, the vaccine is very (very very very very very) safe, so why not give your kid the best shot at not getting a chronic disease that is likely to go on to give them permanent disability or death by getting them vaccinated? I crunched the numbers on Hep B for a class I took and its truly frightening the number of people who are very shortly going to be dying due to liver failure due to Hep B.

Vijay - not all women presenting to deliver their child have a Hep B status that is known. Even if it is known, they can still refuse the shot. Since the risk is highest to get Hep B young (as explained above it significantly increases the risk of chronic infection and subsequent liver damage) then children should get it as soon as possible. Birth is a good time. That way if mom is infected and it isn't known, baby still has a good shot at not contracting. It also protects them during the time period where if infected they have the highest risk of harmful effects from the virus. Plus it is safe to give at birth.

Vijay,

But do you know that most cases of childhood infection are caused by mothers who are infected with hep B? So for kids whose mothers are not infected, the risk is much lower–lower than the risk of a serious vaccine reaction.

Citation? Does horizontal transmission to children only happen in fewer than 1 in 1.1 million children? I don't think so. Horizontal transmission of hepatitis B in children is by no means uncommon:

Children with chronic HBV are more prone than adults to be HBV e antigen positive and to have a high viral load. At the same time, children are more likely to have contact with each other’s body fluids, such as saliva and tears, and therefore have a high risk of horizontal transmission. Horizontal transmission is especially important in children who are at a high risk of acquiring chronic, asymptomatic infection when exposed to HBV. That children often are asymptomatic after infection with HBV lets them enter the large pool of chronic carriers unnoticed.

Why not vaccinate all babies? The risk is tiny, and as far as I know the only severe reaction to hepatitis B vaccine is anaphylaxis, which is easily treated.

But you still believe that the hep B vaccine should be mandatory for a one-day old infant whose mother is not infected?

Yes. I live in the UK where only babies of high risk mothers are vaccinated. I wish it was routine for all babies. This disease has no animal reservoir and could be eliminated if universal vaccination could be achieved. Then no one would need vaccination.

(Teenagers or adults can decide for themselves whether they want a hep B vaccine. It is also safer by then.)

What makes you think it is safer then? Parents can refuse the vaccine if they wish anyway. I don't see the problem.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Jen Phillips: “The LAW already requires that children be vaccinated as a condition of attending school or daycare. “

Uh, no it doesn't. It might be on the books that unvaxxed kids aren't allowed to attend public school or day care, but the actual laws are so watered down- and there's no way to enforce it- that there might as well not be laws at all. Heck, people would be more worked up about random nude people in convenience stores than they ever get about unvaxxed kids.

Dorit Reiss: It might be good to remember – and highlight – that the general law is the law of school immunization requirements.

Again, you are the expert on this, but keep in mind there's no mechanism of enforcement. If there's no enforcement, and lots of ways to get around a requirement, the law may as well not exist.

Frankly, I am so sick of this. Why not just give the parents what they want and take away vaccines, hospitals and medical personnel and give them to areas that actually want all three? We'll see how long anti-vaxx sentiment lasts when the parents have to set their little snowflake's bones, by themselves.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I'm not sure what you mean no mechanism of enforcement. If a child doesn't have an exemption, the child can be barred from school, and several states have - including in recent times - enforced that.

If the parent doesn't vaccinate, doesn't send the child to school and doesn't meet the state's homeschooling requirements they may face penalties for truancy.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ justthestats:

Agreed about Gray Squirrel. And yes, we do have a graphics person about. A few actually.

For a contrast- go over to Natural News today ( Vaccine Cultural War) to see Mikey's creativity at work ( you may need to go to NN TV, which is linked) : an 8 minute video about vaccines and fascism. Designed for facebook.

AS we say around here: Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Krebiozen

I think we could go on arguing about the exact numbers. The point is that there is some risk of hep B vaccine and there are some benefits. Different people disagree about the exact numbers (which is as it always is, and which is as it should be).

But here is a deal. I know that vegetables are good for your kids. So for every vaccine you mandate for my kids, I would like to mandate one veggie for your kids. Deal?

@Kiiri

"That anti-vaxxers sure hate the Hep B shot."

Well, no more than anti-vegetarians hate broccoli. And who are these anti-vegetarians. They are people like you who oppose mandatory vegetarianism.

Frankly, I am so sick of this. Why not just give the parents what they want and take away vaccines, hospitals and medical personnel and give them to areas that actually want all three? We’ll see how long anti-vaxx sentiment lasts when the parents have to set their little snowflake’s bones, by themselves.

You do realize that this is never going to happen, and shouldn't happen, right? For one thing, find me an area where the majority of parents don't vaccinate. Not that even if a majority of parents in an area didn't vaccinate your idea would be ethical. The Biblical G-d was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous men - one would think we could show at least as much mercy.

So you're going to say, well, the people in those areas who do want healthcare can move somewhere else - but I've got something to tell you - mass resettlement is a weird freaking Stalinist fantasy. Seriously. So yeah, the whole idea is absurd.

Speaking of awful Russian leaders whose names end in "in," Putin fell off the radar entirely about a week ago, it seems. I'm hoping he's very ill, dying, or dead.

Vijay,

I think we could go on arguing about the exact numbers. The point is that there is some risk of hep B vaccine and there are some benefits. Different people disagree about the exact numbers (which is as it always is, and which is as it should be).

Not really. As someone once wrote, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. Whatever way you look at it, the benefits of hepatitis vaccination vastly outweigh the risks.

But here is a deal. I know that vegetables are good for your kids. So for every vaccine you mandate for my kids, I would like to mandate one veggie for your kids. Deal?

I'm not mandating anything for your kids. I think it is reasonable to ask that parents take all safe and practical measures to prevent their children from contracting and spreading contagious diseases in schools. You don't want to vaccinate? Home school or find a state where you can get an exemption.

How does my child's vegetable consumption have any potential impact in your child's health?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vijay: Here's a reason to give children the Hep B vaccine: children bite.

Imagine this scenario: one child bites another at the playground. Years later, the bitten child discovers that they have chronic Hep B, which means that they have to be very careful with any sexual partners, probably shouldn't have any biological children, and will probably need a liver transplant.

Dude, the childhood Hep B shot prevents serious liver disease, for which there is no infection-specific treatment (unlike Hep C). The better question is; why wouldn't you want to protect all children?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Doris:

If a child doesn’t have an exemption, the child can be barred from school, and several states have – including in recent times – enforced that.

Not very often, though. I mean, I've got two kids in public school. Fully vaccinated. And do you know how the school knows that they're vaccinated?

They politely asked me.

That is literally the only enforcement there is. No evidence is requested or pursued. No doctor's note, vaccine records, nothing. Just a sheet of paper from the school where they cordially request you enter the approximate date each was given. And thay completely trust you.

The districts got very concerned during a recent chickenpox outbreak here, because though chickenpox vaccination was recommended, it was not mandatory. So they launched a new policy, where if a chickenpox case was observed in a school, all non-vaccinated kids would have to stay home for the duration to keep them safe and limit the spread of the diease. Again, their status as non-vaccinated was based entirely on parent reports.

So the only kids who have been expelled for non-vaccination are the ones whose parents feel strongly enough about anti-vaccination to make an issue of it. The ones who just lie, or who assert that they are doing a catch-up regimen, face no penalty whatsoever. And heck, how would anyone ever find out? If their kid gets a vaccine-preventable disease, it'll just be chalked up to vaccine failure.

The laws do definitely have merit, and they definitely work to encourage widespread vaccination of school-age children. But the enforcement is comically mild.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I would like there to be a law mandating certain vaccinations for air travel. Air travel is unhealthy, I make several international flights each year and every year I I usually get at least one respiratory infection following a flight.

By Peter Foster (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Uh, no it doesn’t. It might be on the books that unvaxxed kids aren’t allowed to attend public school or day care, but the actual laws are so watered down- and there’s no way to enforce it- that there might as well not be laws at all.

Nonsense. In the state of Oregon, schools and childcare facilities are required *by law* to keep vaccination records on each child. They are required for enrollment. Each year at the end of February is the reporting date for vaccine compliance within all facilities statewide. Kids whose records indicate that are not fully compliant with the standard vaccine schedule by that date must either provide proof of vaccination or one of the aforementioned exemptions. To do nothing results in expulsion. This is annually enforced by public health entities across the state.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

To follow up on Calli's experience, all the records I've ever provided for my kids had to be signed by a health care provider.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Krebiozen
"I’m not mandating anything for your kids."

Wow. Thanks for redefining the word "mandate." If you can elaborate on the new definition, I will let the Oxford dictionary folks know.

Wow. Thanks for redefining the word “mandate.” If you can elaborate on the new definition, I will let the Oxford dictionary folks know.

"I'm not [instructing or ordering] anything for your kids."

What part of that doesn't make sense to you, Vijay? The vaccination schedule is a recommendation (with some consequences for non-compliance), not an order that cannot be refused.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

"recommendation (with some consequences for non-compliance)"

Is there a single word for this description that is used by ordinary folks who are not linguists.

Vijay, you are the one claiming that 'mandate' was incorrectly used by Krebiozen. I still don't know the basis of that claim. A recommendation with some consequences for non-compliance is not the equivalent of a mandate. As discussed, vaccination is a *requirement* for enrollment in public school or daycare. Medical or personal belief exemptions to this requirement are available to qualified individuals in many states. There is the additional option to *not* enroll your unvaccinated child in public school or daycare. That is a far cry from a blanket mandate.

A general order to the public to be vaccinated doesn't exist anywhere in the US.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I know that vegetables are good for your kids. So for every vaccine you mandate for my kids, I would like to mandate one veggie for your kids. Deal?

The two mandates are not analogous, I'm afraid.

But if you can demonstrate that not eating vegetables in a timely fashion places not only my chidlren but also others at risk, in the same manner that seeking non-medical exemptions from routine childhood vaccinations places my chidlren at increased risk of infection and by comprising herd immunity others at risk of serious harm I'll gladly accept a mandate they eat veggies on a regular and specified schedule--say, daily at lunch and dinner.

Oh, wait:! They already do...

Viajy, is it your belief that "mandate" and "prerequisite" are synonyms?

Wow. Thanks for redefining the word “mandate.” If you can elaborate on the new definition, I will let the Oxford dictionary folks know.

When Krebiozen in South London acquires legal powers over your children, you might have more pressing concerns than notifying the lexicographers.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Jen,
In the media and elsewhere, the word used is "mandate." If you disagree, then let me know, what word you would use instead. Of course, every word in a language has many shades of meanings.

Talking about the misuse of language, the pro-vax folks are calling people who want a choice as anti-vax instead of pro-choice.

Ultimately, this endless vaccination debate is all about the unsavory consequences for parents who don't comply with these recommendations. If you don't support the unsavory consequences, then I have nothing to disagree with you. But as far as I can tell, everybody who argues in favor of vaccines supports the unsavory consequences for non-compliance. That includes you and Krebiozen.

I'm unaware of any "unsavory consequences" having been discussed here, but if you consider it an unsavory consequence to be excluded from public spaces that are also occupied by medically vulnerable individuals then sure, I'll cop to that.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Talking about the misuse of language, the pro-vax folks are calling people who want a choice as anti-vax instead of pro-choice.

I'd say whining for a special dispensation to, y'know, not vaccinate and be completely free from consequences falls pretty squarely in the former category.

WTF is "unsavory consequences" supposed to even mean? Unless there's a valid medical reason, kids should be vaccinated before they're sent off to hang out in a room all day with a bunch of other kids, some of whom might be particularly vulnerable to disease. If parents are really committed to not vaccinating, they can homeschool, as far as I'm concerned.

I mean, we also don't just let people go grocery shopping in the nude and rub their crotches all over the produce. There might be unsavory consequences.

No, it is my belief that the commonly used word for required vaccination is “mandate.”

In specific situations when vaccination is a *prerequisite* for participating in something (like school or a job), yes. As a general tenet of society, no. No one is MANDATING that you or your child be vaccinated in general. That vaccination is a requirement for inclusion in some circumstances is not the same thing.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I mean, we also don’t just let people go grocery shopping in the nude and rub their crotches all over the produce. There might be unsavory consequences.

But what about my health freeeeddooooommmmmmm? I deserve the right to do my own research on how wearing clothes inhibits my ability to bond with my food. And that produce is too damn sexy for its own good, anyway.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Dude, have you ever seen an eggplant? And let's not even get started on crookneck squash.

@Narad
"I’d say whining for a special dispensation to, y’know, not vaccinate and be completely free from consequences "

Thanks for calling this land of the FREE, a land of the WHINERS. The free folks have won in Oregon for now. And as they say, liberty and freedom can never be taken for granted because medical fascists will always try to take it away.

Dorit: " If a child doesn’t have an exemption, the child can be barred from school, and several states have – including in recent times – enforced that."

They can't enforce it if the child goes to a charter or a private school. Charters are legally protected and don't have to abide by any regulation covering a public school.

JP: I'm a little confused. Why would people be upset about services they never used not being available anymore? Oh, they might be a little embarassed when the former local ped writes about how wonderful her new life in Rwanda or Brazil is, but I doubt they'd be upset. It's just a matter of fiscal prudency- taking services that aren't used to areas where they will be used and appreciated. And it is just a fantasy- I'm not that heartless in real life, but I do think anti-vaxxers need to start paying the price for their convictions.
For my money, he's just lying low until the Nemtsov thing blows over. Very few people are buying the cover story, and he knows it's flimsy. I do hope he dies a flashy, embarrassing, improbable and public death, (meteorite at close quarters,preferably) but we both know rotten people live forever. Anti-vaxxers are living proof of that.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Talking about the misuse of language, the pro-vax folks are calling people who want a choice as anti-vax instead of pro-choice.

Because it's a false choice based on misinformation and willfull misinterpretation of science.

the unsavory consequences

I think I will start lobbying for the right to be exempted of paying the entrance fee when I want to go watch a movie. I believe I should have the choice to decide if I want to pay or not. Being barred from watching the movie is an unsavory consequence and an affront to my freedom.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

liberty and freedom can never be taken for granted because medical fascists will always try to take it away.

I didn't realize that George III was a physician.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

George III
Another victim of MEDICAL FASCISM.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

Thanks for calling this land of the FREE, a land of the WHINERS.

Believe it or not, Francis Scott Key is not actually the foundation of U.S. government. Get back to me when you can figure out the difference between liberty and freedom.

Why would people be upset about services they never used not being available anymore? Oh, they might be a little embarassed when the former local ped writes about how wonderful her new life in Rwanda or Brazil is, but I doubt they’d be upset. It’s just a matter of fiscal prudency- taking services that aren’t used to areas where they will be used and appreciated.

That's the whole thing. There's no "area" where people don't "use and appreciate" health care. Despite MarkN's above stated opinion that Portlanders should "take themselves out of the gene pool," Multnomah County, where Portland is, has vaccination rates for childhood diseases hovering generally between 94 and 95%. That's better than Oregon's average rate. It's a small minority of people there who don't avail themselves of vaccinations, and that's just one piece of health care. Personally, I like children, and I don't want to see them suffer and die needlessly in various awful ways because all the health care in their area was "moved" somewhere where people would "appreciate it" more, even if their parents are stupid.

Re: Putin. He's not the type of guy to "lay low" for any reason at all, as far as I can tell. He didn't bother laying low after invading freaking Ukraine and annexing Crimea, for instance. I suspect I may be disappointed, and I actually don't wish any particular suffering on the man, but I do think his swift death would be a boon for the world, Russia in particular.

From this day, henceforth, I mandate that all infectious diseases must receive permission from parents on whether they can infect kids. Those diseases that have not received such approval will therefore be declared non-gratis and shall be banished from the kingdom.

A. In my son's school too immunization record was required. People can lie or fake records, but they take a risk doing that.

B. In states whose laws I examined, immunization requirements also apply to private schools. The legislature cam
Certainly require it. I came across no state that doesn't, though I haven't looked in detail at all state statutes.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

We have to find a message as potent as the invocation of freedom to counter the antivaccine dog whistle

How about a world without measles?

@PGP

They can’t enforce it if the child goes to a charter or a private school. Charters are legally protected and don’t have to abide by any regulation covering a public school.

Uh, yes, they can. Most states include private and charter schools in their vaccine requirement regulations.

Why would people be upset about services they never used not being available anymore?

We've been over your abhorrent recommendations before. Go back and re-read the responses you got the last time you suggested this.

And it is just a fantasy- I’m not that heartless in real life

The way you talk on here suggests otherwise, but it could be you feel more free to say what you really think online than you do IRL. Not exactly reassuring, though.

@Vijay

Perhaps you can explain which vaccines are safe and worth getting as recommended.

The political influence of loud minorities goes nowhere without money. With enough money, it can trump overwhelming popular support. Obvious example: the NRA. There's overwhelming popular support to do SOMETHING about gun violence, but even the most lukewarm policy proposals are anathema to legislators, because the gun nuts are so well-organized, so activist, and have so damned much money they can not only fund all the work of organizing and agitating, but swing the even more important campaign contributions.

So the questions for Steiner Hayward's back-down are:
1) Who were the key legislative leaders who organized their colleagues to tell her they wouldn't support the bill?
2) Which legislators who expressed non-support were folks we might reasonably have expected to be on board? I.e., who got scared, rather than being genuinely ideologically opposed as we'd expect Jeff Kruse and other TeaBaggers to be?
3) What/who scared them? Was there actually enough swing vote in their district that a mobilized anti-vax base could swing an election (that wouldn't be that common, methinks)? Or was it a money issue — i.e. significant anti-vax money would go to an opponent who would campaign effectively on OTHER issues? If so, who/what was the source of the money threat?
4) Was SB442 always a negotiating chip to begin with? Did Steiner Hayward and other pro-public-health legislators know eliminating all non-medical exemptions wouldn't fly, but put it forward as a means to gauge the ground, flush out the opposition, and make a more limited measure seem more palatable? I.e. throw the dogs a fake bone, so they don't bite so hard on the 'compromise' that will follow. E.g., the Obama Administration has been widely criticized by progressives for putting forth the 'compromise' measures to begin with, only to have the partisan forces of the GOP abandon their previous positions and demand even more movement toward their new more-extreme positions, while seeming 'reasonable' in criticizing the Dem's for failing to participate in 'give-and-take'. Thus something like CA AB2109 (minus Brown's de-fanging) could have been the presumed end-game from the get-go.

I'm all for more potent messaging, of course :-), but that may have more effect on actual public sentiment and encouraging truly responsible 'vaccine choice' than in changing legislation.

JP: "It’s a small minority of people there who don’t avail themselves of vaccinations, and that’s just one piece of health care."

I personally see it as a big part of health care, and it disgusts me that anti-vaxxers, who yell about how awful doctors and immunizations are, still want bones mended, tumors taken away and appendixes removed. They shouldn't expect any sort of treatment at all. The only pressure they might respond to is social pressure- if the neighbors won't speak to them because the doctor moved away because of them, that might make anti-vax people reconsider.

Todd W: The way you talk on here suggests otherwise, but it could be you feel more free to say what you really think online than you do IRL. Not exactly reassuring, though.

Isn't that the point of the internet? To say stuff you never would in life? And why isn't that reassuring? The internet is a stage with a costume party on it, not merely a news service/messaging board.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I'm sorry to have to say it, but it's probably going to take the reappearance of one of the REALLY scary diseases, like polio, in America or Europe to get legislators to take action.

By DarkScholar82 (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I personally see it as a big part of health care, and it disgusts me that anti-vaxxers, who yell about how awful doctors and immunizations are, still want bones mended, tumors taken away and appendixes removed. They shouldn’t expect any sort of treatment at all.

However big a piece of health care, it's just one health part of health care, and I wouldn't deny life-saving care to anybody, even if they're stupid. I especially could never conscience doing that to children. But then, like I said, I like children. I realize some people might be able to think of them as just little "disease vectors," but every job except one that I had before grad school involved working with kids. (The one that didn't was a year I worked providing in-home care for developmentally disabled adults.) Kids are people - particularly vulnerable little people who don't have much control over their own lives.

The only pressure they might respond to is social pressure- if the neighbors won’t speak to them because the doctor moved away because of them, that might make anti-vax people reconsider.

Uh, what? Do you not realize that taking away healthcare from an entire "area" would be an immensely larger evil than a small percentage of people not vaccinating their kids? The whole point of medicine is to help people. I mean, Holy Christ. I don't want to see anybody suffer needlessly, even people who dumb things, but especially not people who just happen to live near those people. But then malice in general is genuinely foreign to my soul.

@DarkScholar82

I would argue that measles is a scarier disease than polio. Much more contagious, much greater risk of serious injury. Diphtheria and Hib probably also rank higher than polio. Not as contagious as measles, but more deadly. Granted, I've actually looked at what these diseases do and hope I have a reasonable ability to assess risk.

Who knows, though, what people would consider to be a "really" scary disease. They might see polio as scarier than measles or pertussis because, well, people are in general pretty poor at assessing risk.

@JP

Don't bother. PGP is a misanthrope. She has very black-and-white thinking, absolutist opinions, and is generally extraordinarily offensive. She also stubbornly refuses to learn from her past gaffes. Nuance and ethics are lost on her.

Here's a sample of the depressing comments on the S-J piece:

My child has a right to a free and appropriate public education, end of story. Anything that infringes on that right is not constitutional, is immoral, and in this case there is no emergency that would come close to justifying the removal of parental rights nor my child's right to an education. In fact this law would have bumped up against federal laws that mandate our school provide my child with speech therapy, and occupational therapy even if home schooled because of her disability. And thanks to my fellow Oregonians my child will continue in school as it should be. There would have been so many devastating consequences of this bill; financially to schools and the state when people moved or removed their children from school, medical care as people would abandon standard caregivers to avoid the harassment and threats and turn even more to alternative caregivers, home birthing, and NO well-baby check ups. That is why this bill is in the dumpster...poorly thought out....poorly planned....poorly researched....and poorly executed. In fact it may have done more to win people to our side than anything I have seen in 20 years. Thanks!

This may answer some of Sadmar's money questions at #114

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

JP: "However big a piece of health care, it’s just one health part of health care, and I wouldn’t deny life-saving care to anybody, even if they’re stupid."

Well, the whole point of the anti-vax movement is that they're smarter than the doctors, and diseases will recognize their natural superiority and shy away. As far as I'm concerned, the parents deserve to be called on their bluff. I would, however support efforts to uncouple the medical care of minors from their parents, since so many parents are making bad decisions, and quite a lot aren't suited to taking care of disabled youngsters. As far as I'm concerned, being anti-vax should disqualify a parent instantly from being a caretaker of a disabled minor.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Todd
"Perhaps you can explain which vaccines are safe and worth getting as recommended."

You could try to evaluate each vaccine on its merits. But it is a lot of work and there are many uncertainties.

An alternative that I suggest is to use an older CDC schedule- say the 1985 schedule (before the US law exempting vaccine makers from liability was passed).
Even in 1980s, there weren't any serious large scale epidemics.

If I remember it right, the 1985 schedule included polio, DTP and MMR. If you feel strongly about anything else, like Hib, you could add that as well.

I probably would not add Hep B, chickenpox, HPV, or flu. I haven't looked at the remaining four vaccines in detail.

The older vaccines are also likely to be safer (more time-proven). Your kid would also get fewer shots during any single office visit.

Funny thing about Brian Hooker and his autism study re-analysis. I have not been up to dig up the original data set, and Hooker is not talking, but at one point he lets slip a vital detail: in his chi squared test he says that the bins are redefined from 36+ months to 31+ months so that every cell would have an occupancy of at least five.

While it is good that he followed the recommendations for bare-minimal-acceptability, the strong implication is that his data set is tiny. Every practicing scientist knows that odd things happen sometimes, especially with small populations, so I am perfectly happy to conclude that a minimal significance criterion was met by the specific data set in hand yet it would be unlikely to see the result confirmed by an independent investigation.

Which is actually the function of significance testing, to guard against fooling yourself with spurious data sets, but that important fact has been drowned out by all the shouting from enthusiastic advocates who improperly believe that "p less than 0.05 proves that my theory is true."

By Robert L Bell (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

I'd rather my kids endure shots than the diseases they protect against. If it's a concern about "too many, too soon", there is a very pointed reason they recommend these shots at the age they do. I once asked my friend, a pediatrician working primarily in the NICU, why the shots are scheduled that way - is it b/c they have/encourage frequent well-child visits during the first 2-3 or 4 years of life? She replied with an emphatic "No! We recommend the current schedule b/c children are most vulnerable to VPDs the first few years of life!".

I think (and hope to the heavens) most anti-vax/vax-hesitant parents would protect their kids in the end, if faced with an urgent and tangible threat to their children's health. So I propose we offer, particularly to those who think that these diseases are "no big deal" or "it would be better for them to have the actual disease than the protection from it", this choice (as they are genuinely and primarily concerned with the "choice" than the shot itself): if you want to place your kids in a public setting where their health status could impact that of others, take your choice of a syringe filled with a targeted protection of a disease or a syringe full of the disease itself. Again, I hope to high heaven that at least half would choose the former. A girl can dream, right??

By Jessica Sager (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Jessica
"...take your choice of a syringe filled with a targeted protection of a disease or a syringe full of the disease itself."
Interesting thought, but flawed. CDC had only 7 different vaccines in the late 1980s; now they have 16. And at the rate they are going, they could have dozens more in the near future.
In normal course of life, an unvaccinated kid would only get a few of these diseases , not all.
Exposing a kid to ALL the diseases is insane.

If you like statistics, you should read this:
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Vijay, given that you have, of your own FREE Will,* invoked this particular Ioannidis item, please explain – in your own words – the difference between PPV and NPV.

* No, Gordon Liddy's better than that.

@Narad
PPV = TP/(TP+FP)
NPV = TN/(TN+FN)

Anyway, here is a question for you:

The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test commonly used for prostate cancer screening has a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 60%. Based on his age and race, a man has a 1% probability of prostate cancer before the PSA test. What is his probability of cancer after the test if he tests positive?

Anyway, here is a question for you

No. If most positive findings are false in this framework, what are most negative findings?

@Robert L Bell

the strong implication is that his data set is tiny

Indeed, Hooker (1) looked at a very small sample AND (2) truncated that sample--which is remarkable, given that he complains that CDC did not report all the data, Hooker threw out data.

Here's a nice analysis of Hooker's incompetent, brief visit to the land of statistical analysis:

http://www.stats.org/african-american-boys-and-autism/

@Narad
Most negative findings are never published. Either the sponsor of the trial buries them, or the journal finds them uninteresting.

Please read this. (The author RS was the editor of BMJ for 25 year):

Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies
http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0…

BTW, only 15% of doctors who order the PSA test can answer my key question about the test correctly.

Most negative findings are never published.

1. Answer the original question. Nobody asked you to blunder into Ioannidis in the first place.

2. What does this say about those that are published? Oh, wait, it's the PAYMASTERS.

@Narad
"Nobody asked you to blunder into Ioannidis in the first place."

Do you own the copyrights to Ioannidis' paper? Should I have taken your permission before posting a link to his paper?

Of course Lanka wasn’t gonna pay so they went to court where he now was ordered to pay.

Needs more Kary Mullis.

@Narad
“Nobody asked you to blunder into Ioannidis in the first place.”

Do you own the copyrights to Ioannidis’ paper? Should I have taken your permission before posting a link to his paper?

Singular "paper"? "Copyrights?"

Even in 1980s, there weren’t any serious large scale epidemics.

No kidding really?
Hib disease was endemic with ~20,000 children infected annually.
Hepatitis b caused about 26,000 infections annually.
There was a nice little measles outbreak (again primarily amongst unvaccinated) with more than 55,000 cases and more than 150 deaths.

I probably would not add Hep B, chickenpox, HPV, or flu. I haven’t looked at the remaining four vaccines in detail.

But you say you recommend an alternative schedule based on what exactly? The number of jabs? How very scientific.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Science Mom

Perhaps Vijay was using the following definition of epidemic: more cases than would be expected. I mean, he still fails, but just trying to understand.

@Vijay,

Okay, so you agree that MMR, DTP (as opposed to DTaP), polio and Hib are okay to give on-schedule?

not add Hep B, chickenpox, HPV, or flu

Why not those vaccines? Do you have a scientific basis for your reasoning, or is it just your feeling about them?

And you feel that the older formulations are safer? Based on? What about changes that were made to formulations specifically to make them safer?

It took a little bit of digging around, but I found a copy of the 1985 vaccination schedule in a PKIDS newsletter. Some things to point out to Vijay:

* Whole-cell pertussis vaccine was on the schedule. It is more effective than the current acellular version, but also carries a slightly higher risk of adverse reactions (though still mostly minor).
* The polio vaccine that was on the schedule then was the oral polio vaccine, which is a live attenuated virus vaccine. Again, while more effective then the current IPV, it also carried the risk of VAPP.

So, you're actually advocating for an increase in risks. I find that very interesting.

Even in 1980s, there weren’t any serious large scale epidemics.

Well, sure, if you take the black plagues sweeping whole countries as a reference.

Seriously, anti-vaxers, could we try to implement health policies before situations start spiraling out of control?

By Helianthus (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Taxes. We use them on tobacco with some effect. I know it's a bit creepy, but in a single payer system with electronic records, when folks want medical treatment you could catch whether their vaccinations are up-to-date, and send them a bill if they aren't. Not helping out by immunizing creates costs that the person is not paying for. We fine people for going too fast on the roads because it endangers others.

rork, not sure if that would be legal. However, I have a Medical Aid (Discovery). They let me get the flu jab for free, and even give me rewards points for doing so. What might work is for Medical Aids to charge higher rates to those who don't vaccinate or give extra benefits to those who do.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vijay, In the early 1990s--before the addition of varicella vaccine to the recommended childhood immunization schedule--in the United States each year we saw on average 4 million people (mostly children) become infected with chicken pox, 10,500 to 13,000 of whom would require hospitalization and about150 of whom would die due to the disease. .

That's why we vaccinate against it.

Would you like to try explaining the reasons why you wouldn't vacinate against it?

@vijay

I have looked at the paper you have referenced and it seems that you either did not read it or your thinking is a bit muddled, or both. Actually, the answers to your questions are all there for your perusal. You are fearmongering about the vaccine because the frequency of deaths due to HepB increased for some years after the introduction of vaccination and yet you fail to notice that since than the frequency plateaued and started to decline (see fig.7 you cited). Surely you did not expect that the trend would be reversed immediately by vaccination of newborns (it takes some time before the people, who acquired the disease before the start of vaccination, die of it), didn't you?
You would be much more effective troll if you did not cite papers that contradict what you want imply.

Martin

"want to imply ", sorry.

Regarding the hep B vaccination, I recently was evaluated for my fitness to donate a kidney to my brother. My first sets of bloodwork indicated that I was not exposed to hep B. However, later in the process a different test came back positive. After a work up with an immunologist, they still don't know why I tested positive. While I could have had it and it resolved without me knowing it, that appears unlikely since I did not have a significant reaction to the vaccine. But given the risk, I am incredibly glad I had all 4 of my children vaccinated at birth.

By General Factotum (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

I have all the past CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedules here. Prior to 1995, the CDC did not issue yearly vaccine schedules:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/past.html

Perhaps Vijay would like to provide us with his/her qualifications to comment about the decisions made by the FDA to license vaccines and the ACIP and the CDC to place those vaccines on the Childhood (and the Adult) Recommended Schedules.

Denice Walker @ 78
I could not get the player to work at Natural News,but the video has just been posted on YouTube this morning.The weapons grade burning stupid is something you might want to see.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsQgR_oAolM

JGC@ 93
That gets to the message of the video.Any prerequisite is a forced government mandate that leads to Nazi "death panels".

Jen Phillips @101
Unless I see anything to the contrary,I am convinced these people believe their "freedom of choice" trumps everything.Including herd immunity,protecting medically vulnerable populations.As has been said many times before,generations of vaccine compliance have given antivaxers an unrealistic picture of how serious diseases like measles are.

I don't even think the reemergence of polio is going to change these people's minds,and I do think that is around the corner.

Vijay@131

The comments to this article are especially telling,and worth a read.

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Narad
Thanks for correcting the grammar. With so much stuff going on, the Internet could always use a good grammarian.

By the way, which drug company do you work for?

@ Science Mom
Yes, an epidemic is in the eyes of the beholder. Do you know that over 300,000 Americans die every year from hospital and medical errors, and over 100,000 die from adverse drug reactions. Ten times as many are seriously injured.

But that does not qualify as an epidemic because it is not in the news. Why? Because no newspaper benefits (commercially) by talking about it. Nor is any shill paid to talk about those deaths.

@Todd
"So, you’re actually advocating for an increase in risks. I find that very interesting."

No. You could use the current version of the polio vaccine. I am not saying to use the 1985 versions of the vaccines. But use the 1985 vax schedule (with minor adjustments that make sense for 2015).

And Vijay finally dove into the shill conspiracy.

And actually, plenty of people talk about adverse events in healthcare. It's publicly reportable and CMS takes money AWAY (in the form of reimbursement, as in, that big shill money making enterprise will show they can be safe or they won't get reimbursed) from hospitals that don't meet patient care/safety benchmarks. Several states require public reporting so the public can look. Even hospitals formally exempt (PPS-exempt) due to high patient risk for complications (such as cancer hospitals, research facilities with transplant and burn units) are no longer going to be exempt. So yes, there are plenty of people talking about patient safety. YOU just don't know enough about what you're talking about to look for where it's mentioned. And EVERYONE can look at it. https://data.medicare.gov/data/hospital-compare

Also, you said The older vaccines are also likely to be safer (more time-proven). Your kid would also get fewer shots during any single office visit. indicating that yes, you did want to use the 1985 versions and therefore have no idea what you're talking about.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Vijay

"Thanks for correcting the grammar. With so much stuff going on, the Internet could always use a good grammarian."

Certainly more than any cluless anti-vaxxer asshats like yourself. You're welcome.

Vijay,

Yes, an epidemic is in the eyes of the beholder. Do you know that over 300,000 Americans die every year from hospital and medical errors, and over 100,000 die from adverse drug reactions. Ten times as many are seriously injured.

Errors happen, and measures are taken to prevent them. Things have improved greatly over the past few decades. When you consider that over 50 million medical procedures are carried out each year in the US, many of them that carry a serious risk, that's a 0.6% fatal error rate, which puts it into perspective.

As I wrote in reply to a similar claim a couple of days ago, even assuming that the claim about fatal drug reactions is true (it isn't), it is meaningless unless we consider the benefits of these drugs as well. How many people's lives are saved by these drugs? How many of these patients would have died anyway, without conventional treatment? How many patients have their quality of life improved by these drugs?

For example, anticoagulant drugs are among the most dangerous prescription drugs; they cause an estimated 2,800 excess major bleeds a year in the UK. They also prevent an estimated 16,100 strokes a year, including 4,400 fatal strokes (PDF) and the NHS estimates that prescribing more of them would prevent an additional 3,500 deaths each year. I'm sure that the figures in the US are very similar.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Vijay

No. You could use the current version of the polio vaccine. I am not saying to use the 1985 versions of the vaccines.

Frequent Lurker beat me to it, but you definitely stated the following:

The older vaccines are also likely to be safer (more time-proven).

That implies that you think the older formulations were safer than newer formulations. Also, if you want to go by the 1985 vaccines schedule, it clearly has the OPV, not the IPV (which was also available at the time), on it. So whether we go with your argument that the older vaccines are safer or by the 1985 schedule, you are advocating for using vaccines that carry a greater risk than today's schedule/vaccines.

This suggests to me that you really have not properly researched the subject and do not know what you are talking about.

The primary reason the vaccine companies want to take away all vax exemptions is so that no unvaccinated or undervaccinated kids remain around for comparison with fully vaccinated kids.

Because the worst thing for them is a future study which shows that unvaccinated or undervaccinated kids remain healthier and live longer on average than fully vaccinated kids.

Meanwhile, if all vax exemptions are taken away, the least we should do is to change the US national anthem from
"Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave"
to
Land of the Sheep, and Home of the Fascists"

Vijay, any chance you'll answer my question @ 144? I'm curious why you believe returning to an average of 4 million chicken pox infections every year, many of which will require hospitalizatios and some of which will lead to deaths, is something to be embraced.

@Todd
"This suggests to me that you really have not properly researched the subject and do not know what you are talking about."
Thanks for your extremely kind and profound comments.

Thanks to all you guys for an entertaining discussion. It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

@ Roger Kulp:

Oh I know! I saw it via NN's direction to Natural News TV.
Mike's videos compete with Gary Null's films for egregious quotes and un- restrained inappropriate analogies.

But then I would expect that.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vijay: "If I remember it right, the 1985 schedule included polio, DTP and MMR. If you feel strongly about anything else, like Hib, you could add that as well."

Proof you have no idea what you are spouting off about. Under that schedule I had to deal for month with very sick kids suffering from chicken pox, including a six month old baby. I assume that as a guy, it would be beneath you to attend to an infant in pain all night long. Nor would you care about her pain.

Only a sadistic child hater would want them to suffer with dozens of itchy open wounds (pox) for up to two weeks. I wish the varicella had been available a year or two earlier.

Though before she was born, the oldest child got a disease we now vaccinate for and had seizures, with a trip by ambulance to the hospital. You see, unlike some of the anti-vaccine types like Cia Parker who claims her daughter had encephalitis... I actually did call 911 and took the kid in for medical care. By the way, that seizure may or may not be the reason for his disabilities.

"It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time."

Actually you are not "pro-choice", you are pro-disease, and do not care one bit about the health of children.

Thanks to all you guys for an entertaining discussion. It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

Don't flatter yourself. Most of the effort that goes into debunking the BS you're spouting isn't for your benefit, but to try and provide resources for those who might be seeking honest, objective answers. So thank YOU for being such an excellent foil.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

By the way, which drug company do you work for?

When all else fails, fall back on the pharma shill gambit. Hey, at least it's a switch from "I didn't post what you guys say I posted!"

@ Vijay

vaccination-fascists

Showing your true colors, eh?

As someone whose grandparents went through true fascists regimes, I'm amused you think yourself of a rebel.

One of my great-uncle, when asked about what he did around the 40's, answered humbly and tongue-in-check that he was working at a railroad station and "I was keeping the doors open".
He was a much more courageous guy, and way much more of a rebel than you will ever dream to be.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Yes, an epidemic is in the eyes of the beholder. Do you know that over 300,000 Americans die every year from hospital and medical errors, and over 100,000 die from adverse drug reactions. Ten times as many are seriously injured.

Just goes to show how much you know about epidemiology and argument fallacies. There are specific criteria for what constitutes an epidemic. Your Tu Quoque fallacy has been noted and slapped down by others.

The primary reason the vaccine companies want to take away all vax exemptions is so that no unvaccinated or undervaccinated kids remain around for comparison with fully vaccinated kids.

Someone's tin foil beanie is too tight. "Vaccine companies" (as if there is even such a thing) have nothing to do with vaccine exemptions; those fall under the purview of state legislatures. You are clearly using the braindead rallying cry of your fellow dimwitted anti-vaxxers re: health freeeedumb!!!11 Even if non-medical exemptions were removed you are still free to keep your spawn unvaccinated, pure and toxin-free.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Narad
...
By the way, which drug company do you work for?

That's rich.

It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

I wonder what color I should get my jackboots in? I suppose pink would be appropriate, since I'm also a Feminazi, but my lands, I detest pink clothing.

Thanks to all you guys for an entertaining discussion. It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

In what way is that interesting, Vijay?

-btw- AoA is crowing that tighter vaccine exemption laws are being withdrawn in various jurisdictions.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

I am glad to see this article, but I confess I did not read through all of the comments as it seemed to be descending into another pro vs. anti argument. As someone who is pro-science, I think it is key for us to recognize that our "we are right because we are the experts" approach to this discussion is failing us. I understand the frustration felt when you spend a large portion of your life studying a subject only to have your expertise dismissed by individuals who have little knowledge on the topic but spread a lot of rhetoric. However, it is key for us to ask ourselves what has happened that public trust has been lost, and how do we change that? We can not expect everyone to know or understand science, just as we do not expect all scientists to know and understand art, literature, poetry, economics, business, humanities etc. So how do we regain our expert status and regain public trust. Scientists solve puzzles. Complex, layered puzzles. So this should be a really fun challenge. I hope we can start to have more productive conversations about how to resolve this issue, because all we are doing now is driving more people away.

-btw- AoA is crowing that tighter vaccine exemption laws are being withdrawn in various jurisdictions.

I don't doubt it. The past few days in Oregon have been frigging unbearable. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I just paid a visit to the page of an .'Alternative' Pediatrician based in Portland. A few weeks ago when SB 442 was alive and kicking, he assured parents on his blog that, should it pass, he would "find a way" to give them a medical exemption so that they could continue not vaccinating their children. Now that the bill is dead, the jubilant 'Health Freedom' stank is potent, indeed.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

While your accomplice ransacks the vault? Is that what you mean? What happened while you so cleverly distracted us with your idle chitchat and meaningless banter? ZOMG - we are in the presence of a criminal mastermind!

Everybody count the spoons.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vivian: " We can not expect everyone to know or understand science, just as we do not expect all scientists to know and understand art, literature, poetry, economics, business, humanities etc. So how do we regain our expert status and regain public trust."

My expertise was only in having children who suffered through the diseases under the 1985 vaccine schedule, because those particular vaccines were not available.

You may note I am not happy with those who think kids should get sick. Especially after taking care of a baby with chicken pox and before that seeing my toddler go into a grand mal seizure, just a day after the doctor said he seemed be getting better.

What kind of special expert does one have to be to not want children to suffer?

As someone who is pro-science, I think it is key for us to recognize that our “we are right because we are the experts” approach to this discussion is failing us.

I haven't been seeing anyone taking that approach, however.

Instead, I'm seeing the approach "The following evidence demonstrates the anti-vax claims you've offered are false".

So it would turn out that the much touted 'measles death' in Germany was a child who had been vaccinated, who also had an underlying heart condition. Two questions, Germany, which has 95% uptake of MMR - herd immunity is obviously a fantasy and why is the pro vaxx unit using this as an appeal to emotion?

The CDC originally said that an unknown women who was probably unvaccinated and may have stayed at Disneyland who may have had measles............... how have you got to the point that you have a point about anti vaxxers?

How sick can you get, selling snake oil MMR on the back of this death. If I was the parent I would be well pissed.

Surely the point is that vaccination is based on the biggest woo. At least it started with Disney.

"You may note I am not happy with those who think kids should get sick" chris

You have to qualify what sick is. When your child had chicken pox did you give them anti pyretics before the seizures?

johnny: "So it would turn out that the much touted ‘measles death’ in Germany was a child who had been vaccinated, who also had an underlying heart condition"

Citation needed.

And who are you to decide if a child should live or die? As a parent of someone who had open heart surgery due to a genetic heart disorder, obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I find your attitude rather disgusting.

"selling snake oil MMR"

It's been around since 1971. If you have evidence that it causes more harm than measles, then provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers.

johnny,

Where are you finding that the child was vaccinated for measles? All official sources have confirmed he WAS NOT vaccinated. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/23/german-health-official-man…

Also, the presence of a heart condition is EXACTLY why vaccination is important, especially since so many indolent conditions exist and only come to light when someone is exposed to a disease that can kill them.

By Frequent Lurker (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

" Now that the bill is dead, the jubilant ‘Health Freedom’ stank is potent, indeed." Jen

You gotta realise Jen that the 'evidence' for vaccine efficacy is not clean at all. Why on earth would you believe CDC dictat on vaccine benefit? Where is the evidence that their predictions of mass disaster with flu for example have been born out in any reality. Last years whooping cough vaccine failure, this years flu and measles vaccine failure. In the Western world mortality rates from wild measles are the same as 50 years ago, so years of vaccination have made no difference. What we do have though is epidemics of atopy and now as reported in the UK hundreds of cases of narcolepsy in kids from flu vaccination. You only have to study the woo of vaccination for a very short periods

Yes, citation please Johnny - and how about examining the actual course of the German epidemic, which started in unvaccinated enclaves.....even if 95% of the people are vaccinated, guess what happens when large numbers of the other 5% live in the same communities together.....

johnny: "You have to qualify what sick is"

Spoken by someone whose children are protected by community immunity.

."When your child had chicken pox did you give them anti pyretics before the seizures?"

Work on your reading comprehension. Different disease, note the words "before that" and the earlier comment #162 I said "Though before she was born, the oldest child got a disease we now vaccinate for and had seizures, with a trip by ambulance to the hospital."

Johnny, why do want kids to get sick? And why do you hate those with genetic disorders?

@Johnny - stop displaying your profound ignorance....mortality and incidence are two completely different things.

Johnny,
As Frequent Lurker has shown, you are a liar.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Thanks for correcting the grammar. With so much stuff going on, the Internet could always use a good grammarian.

The comment itself was nonsensical. Again, it's not my fault that you happened upon the bright idea of invoking something that, to the extent it is apropos of anything, works directly to your detriment.

johnny: "In the Western world mortality rates from wild measles are the same as 50 years ago, so years of vaccination have made no difference. "

Due to improvement in expensive hospital care. Things like artificial respiratory support for one of the more common complications of measles, pneumonia, plus antibiotics for the secondary bacterial infections.

Wow, you really love seeing kids suffer. It must excite you see a child hooked up to tubes to keep them alive by helping them breathe.

So tell us when did mortality decline between the invention of those interventions in the 1950s to when the first vaccines were available. Here is the CDC Pink Book Appendix G data from 1950 to 1975. Point out that year, and don't mention the comparison to 1900, it will only make you look more like an idiot:

Disease: Measles in the USA
Year__Cases___Deaths
1961__423,919_434
1962__481,530_408
1963__385,156_364
(^^ first vaccine licensed)
1964__458,083_421
1965__261,905_276
1966__204,136_261
1967___62,705__81
1968___22,231__24
1969___25,826__41
1970___47,351__89
1971___75,290__90
(^^^ MMR licensed)
1972___32,275__24
1973___26,690__23
1974___22,690__20
1975___24,374__20

Why on earth would you believe CDC dictat on vaccine benefit?

Oh, look, it's Philip Hills, aka "pop sucket," aka "pop socket," aka "Johnny Labile," etc., etc., here to ramble on about the NICE guideline that only he is unable to find.

epidemics of atopy
Ah, it's *that* Johnny. "Cochraine reports" cannot be far away.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Johnny,
As Frequent Lurker has shown, you are a liar.

As did HDB a week ago.

I wish this johnny would choose another 'nym, as we actually have a sane johnny who posts here.

The measles outbreak in Germany has been traced to an unvaccinated Bosnian child. There are significant numbers of refugees from the former Yugoslavia in Germany, many of them unvaccinated -- odd how a little thing like a civil war can throw public health activities like childhood vaccinations completely off track.

As an aside it is clear that Robert Kennedy Jr.'s activities are in fact anti-vaccination in spite of his assertion that he is pro-vax because he and his children were all vaccinated. He leaves out the part that they were all born years before his foray into really bad anti-vaxx pseudoscience. A typical claim by those who wish to avoid the dreaded anti-vaxx label.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

You gotta realise Jen [wall of absurd falsehoods]

Pfft. The only thing I 'gotta realize', you incompetent sock-puppet, is that people who believe as you do will return our civilization to the dark ages sooner than ever if we don't figure out an effective way to counter the pig-choking volume of misinformation that you and your misguided brethren are churning out.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

“Though before she was born, the oldest child got a disease we now vaccinate for and had seizures, wtf does that mean?

How does anyone get a disease before they were born?

So do you believe in Disney or vaccination?

So the rates of medically induced atopy are not suffering right?

" The only thing I ‘gotta realize’, you incompetent sock-puppet, is that people who believe as you do will return our civilization to the dark ages sooner than ever if we don’t figure out an effective way to counter the pig-choking volume of misinformation that you and your misguided brethren are churning out." Jedi knought

What like the 800+ with narcolepsy after the fictitious swine flu pandemic. Are you a flu woo believer or just a drive by commentator?

"The measles outbreak in Germany has been traced to an unvaccinated Bosnian child. There are significant numbers of refugees from the former Yugoslavia in Germany, many of them unvaccinated — odd how a little thing like a civil war can throw public health activities like childhood vaccinations completely off track." Shay

there is always a convenient excuse for vaccine failure, if Germany has a 95% uptake rate of MMR how come herd immunity failed - again? Was it a dodgy batch, when exactly is the vaccine supposed to work.

Blame it on the foreigners. Why are all the flu's called Beijing, Asian, Spanish etc. Why don't we have Bush flu or whitehouse flu? All this empire crap is rather shallow.

We are waiting. Who traced it - please qualify

Weave us a magic EBM reply please, make it Disney

What like the 800+ with narcolepsy after the fictitious swine flu pandemic.

Which was studied and found not to be linked to the vaccine at all. I wonder what else happened after that global vaccination effort?

Millions of women got their periods! OMG, the flu vaccine contains FEMALE HORMONES!
Millions of children lost teeth! OMG, The flu vaccine is linked to root resorption!!
Should I go on?

Are you a flu woo believer or just a drive by commentator?

Neither. I'm a biologist who's been commenting here since roughly 2007, and I'm done with you.

By Jen Phillips (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Johnny, your evidence that routine childhood vaccination is ineffective at reducing the incidence of the infectious diseases targeted, and that last year’s whooping cough, seasonal flu and the current MMR vaccine is ineffective at reducing the incidence of those diseases , would be…what, exactly? Be specific.
I mean, you do have some-right?

In the Western world mortality rates from wild measles are the same as 50 years ago, so years of vaccination have made no difference.

Made no difference, or made no difference in one’s risk of dying once they have contracted the disease? We don’t expect vaccines to make a disease less deadly, only to prevent you from acquiring it. And if you’ll check the incidence rate before and after vaccination was introduced, you’ll find it’s made a very, very large difference.

What we do have though is epidemics of atopy…

Citations needed: your evidence that such epidemics are occurring and that the atopy observed is causally associated with vaccination would be what? Be specific.

…and now as reported in the UK hundreds of cases of narcolepsy in kids from flu vaccination.

Citation needed. To the best of my knowledge narcolepsy was associated only with the 2009 Pandemrix flu vaccine, and there were less than 100 cases observed in total.

It is interesting to see than one pro-choice guy can keep several vaccination-fascists busy for a long time.

I have also seen the proverb worded as
"A fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer."

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Do you know that over 300,000 Americans die every year from hospital and medical errors, and over 100,000 die from adverse drug reactions. Ten times as many are seriously injured.

Does anyone have a citation for this? It sounds rather argumentum ex culo.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

<Who traced it – please qualify

The German Ministry of Health.

if Germany has a 95% uptake rate of MMR how come herd immunity failed

You truly don't understand how herd immunity works, do you?

(sigh) Italics fail. C'mon, Wordpress, make with the preview function!

OT: But a child is death by measle in my country, Italy. A four years old, unvaccinated.
:( I fear that it is only a matter of time before more will join the count.

What we do have though is epidemics of atopy and now as reported in the UK hundreds of cases of narcolepsy in kids from flu vaccination.

ORLY, Philip Hills? You seem to have an order-of-magnitude problem. Indeed, given that uptake of all influenza vaccines in the UK was less than 10% of the population (PDF), the upper end of the attributable-risk estimate doesn't even make it to 200 for all age groups.

I expect Johnny to flounce again......since his lies have been called out.

Do you know that over 300,000 Americans die every year

That's impressive. WIthin 24 hr, 3 different people came on RI and posted something like this.
Except one time it was 100,000 people, next time 200,000, and now 300,000 people.
At least, I hope for their sanity that these are different people.

Now, could our opponents please compare notes and come back with some consensus? It's a bit confusing right now.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ JGC

We don’t expect vaccines to make a disease less deadly

Nitpicking, but we do.
Well, among the successfully vaccinated anyway. A faster immune reaction should either protect from the disease, or make it last a shorter time.

Among non-vaccinated, you are right. For the disease, it's unfortunately business as usual.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

This is the high point of woo. It's soon going to go downhill and fast.

Why? Because Google is going to replace its easily-gamed PageRank system with a system that ranks pages according to how reality-based they are.

And the Usual Suspects are already freaking out.

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

JGC:
Instead, I’m seeing the approach “The following evidence demonstrates the anti-vax claims you’ve offered are false”.

You are correct. Perhaps the language I chose was too simple or too strong. My point is that using evidence based medicine arguments, while 100% valid and the gold standard for arguing science, it is failing us in trying to win the confidence of the general public. We need to find a way to communicate these messages in a way that builds public confidence rather than losing people to the anti-vax movement.

The UK checks in with 70 total cases (PDF) reported to the European Medicines Agency. There are 68 plaintiffs in the class action. The estimates suggest that around half of those are bona fide.

You lose again, Philip Hills.

My point is that using evidence based medicine arguments, while 100% valid and the gold standard for arguing science, it is failing us in trying to win the confidence of the general public. We need to find a way to communicate these messages in a way that builds public confidence rather than losing people to the anti-vax movement.

TINW.

Because Google is going to replace its easily-gamed PageRank system with a system that ranks pages according to how reality-based they are.

I'm afraid that this remains a hopelessly primitive misunderstanding.

In the Western world mortality rates from wild measles are the same as 50 years ago, so years of vaccination have made no difference.

That may be the most foolish thing I have seen anyone write about vaccines. Measles mortality rates, looking at the entire population, has been reduced by almost 100% in the US since the measles vaccine was introduced. It's like complaining that seat belts are useless because the death rate in people thrown through the windscreen in RTCs is the same as it was before they were introduced.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

Vivian: However, it is key for us to ask ourselves what has happened that public trust has been lost, and how do we change that?

Americans got dumber and affluent, it's as simple as that. There are also fewer people who actually suffered those diseases, so people don't grow up listening to horror stories about mumps, measles, and etc. People also don't read anymore- Little House on the Prairie, Little Women and Eight Cousins and the Mirror Crack'd ought to be required reading for new parents, since all mention mumps, measles and rubella and the consequences thereof.

Vivian: "We can not expect everyone to know or understand science, just as we do not expect all scientists to know and understand art, literature, poetry, economics, business, humanities etc. "

I don't know where you're getting this. Every single undergrad student at my college was required to have classes in art, literature, theology, philosophy, at least two writing-heavy courses, sociology, history and math. Granted, that was just one college, but lots of people go to liberal arts colleges for their bachelors. And in the professional world, scientists have to understand politics and economics so they can keep their jobs.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Helianthus:

And I've always heard that it was *600 000*.
So I suppose they haven't read 'Death By Medicine".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Vijay, As for "Herd Immunity why do you believe human beings have to be treated like cattle, after all cattle are not given a choice or given free will, but aren't most free human beings who are not enslaved or imprisoned granted that right by their creator?

@ Phoenix Woman:

I think that Narad is right.

And woo-meisters might use studies as the verifiable/ factual basis and manage to eke by. Right now, they certainly claim that _research_ shows they're right and they have the studies- all cited and quoted to illustrate that.
Altho' I did briefly hear a statement by Mooney about g--gle.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ PGP:

Most of the relevant background in general science, bio and chemistry should be acquired before students attend universities. Hopefully.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@brian

Thanks for the link to the stats.org article. It was most entertaining.

By Robert L Bell (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

DW: Of course, high school students should have had some science courses, especially those who chose to go to college. But in the states, science education has become so politicized that most high schools teach only a very watered down version of biology- if they think they can get away with it and not earn the ire of the school board. A lot of districts have probably done away with biology all together.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Vivian
I want to thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

it is failing us in trying to win the confidence of the general public. We need to find a way to communicate these messages in a way that builds public confidence rather than losing people to the anti-vax movement.

I think that we cannot expect the general public to understand the science to the depth required to refute many of the anti-vax studies. It takes a certain level of knowledge to distinguish between studies that are decent science with a funding bias and pseudo-science. Not every parent was a 'A' student and made good choices in adding to their family.

It comes down to how much they trust the people that are behind the recommendations and push for stricter school requirements. That means more than just having evidence on your side. It means having their trust regarding whether those recommendations are in their best interest. Sadly, the medical industry as a whole is simply no longer as respected as it once was. The pharmaceutical companies have been particularly derelict in their actions and the distrust spills into everything they manufacture, particularly products like vaccines because they are required to attend public schools.

Regarding science education in schools- I think it is more fundamental than that. In my opinion, the crux of the matter is that too much focus is being placed on what to think, rather than how to think.

For example, why aren't grade students being taught how to recognize logical fallacies, and avoid them in their own thought processes?

I think that we cannot expect the general public to understand the science to the depth required to refute many of the anti-vax studies.

Beth, you yourself have stubbornly refused to do your own homework regarding MRLs and complained about the quality of others' doing it for you.

@Narad

you yourself have stubbornly refused to do your own homework regarding MRLs and complained about the quality of others’ doing it for you.

Not quite how I would have put it, but I have a solid academic background and I don't have toddlers around to distract me and occupy all my attention. I was able to spend more than an hour reading and trying to understand the two papers you linked. How can you expect the parents of young children to put in the time and effort to understand the science underlying those studies? For every vaccine?

Most young parents will make their choices based on their trust in the system making the recommendations.

Beth: "Most young parents will make their choices based on their trust in the system making the recommendations."

And not understanding the pain and suffering many of these diseases cause. Since they have grown up after measles and mumps was common, and often not seeing younger siblings suffer from chicken pox... they simply do not understand the gravity of the illnesses.

It was twenty five years ago when my oldest as a toddler had a seizure from a now vaccine preventable disease. Which was about the time that another mother I met later had her child die from Hib meningitis. Then later "just" a bit over twenty years ago all the kids had chicken pox including the baby (who turns 21 in two months).

Perhaps this would be useful: Vaccine Preventable Disease - The Forgotten Story

How can you expect the parents of young children to put in the time and effort to understand the science underlying those studies? For every vaccine?

It is unclear to me here the degree to which the idea is to emulate the sales tactics of the antivaccine brigade, but I'm not really seeing a way in which is isn't.

Most young parents will make their choices based on their trust in the system making the recommendations.

"After the crucifixion mania passed, Haines and all his followers had been invited to attend a kind of ecumenical LSD session with the League in Tim’s room on the third floor. Everyone sat in a circle, with Tim at one end and Bill at the other, and this time the implication was that Bill and/or the Ashram in general desperately required some kind of spiritual tranquilization. Tim kept droning 'find your calm center, find your calm center' every few seconds and Carol Ross, who was seated next to him, chanted when he didn’t.

"'I can still hear it,' Haines said. 'It was unbelievable.'

"He widened his eyes, made his mouth into an 'o,' fluttered his hands and assumed a falsetto voice:

"'"Skies of blooooooo, skies of bloooooooo.["] She just kept saying that, over and over. If it wasn’t "find your calm center" it was "skies of blooooooo, skies of bloooooo." I mean, I don’t think I freak out easily, Art, but five minutes more of that and I might have gone out of the window.'

"'How long did it last?' I asked.

"'I don’t know. I guess I took it for about fifteen minutes and then I just stood up, excused myself, and walked out the door.'”

Seriously you expect parent whose children they suspect were seriously damaged by vaccines, to ever trust vaccinations again? Don't bet on it!

By Green Parents (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

I am just now beginning to understand a conversation I had with Kyogen, my old Zen teacher, when I was 21 or maybe 22. I had just told him a very strange story (I'm not going to go into it now) of high synchronicity that I had experienced.

"Oh, yeah, I have some familiarity with that kind of thing."
"You do?"
"I mean, yeah, I went to Berkeley in the 60s. I guess I was ultimately drawn toward something a little more orderly."

Not that there weren't moments at Shasta that might have seemed a little Millbrook to outsiders:

On another evening the senior monks were gathered in that same common room enjoying some camaraderie. We had an old hound dog who would howl whenever he heard a siren. Sometimes if we worked at it, we could imitate siren noises and get him going. The lot of us were at it that evening, Roshi included, when someone heard footsteps in the cloister just outside. It was the lay guests attending an introductory retreat on their way from the Zendo to their evening tea before bed, silently and mindfully making their way while the senior monks and Abbot howled like maniacs in the common room.The alarm was sounded and we all shushed each other, stifling our laughter. I remember Roshi with one hand on top of her head, the other covering her mouth as she sank down in that same chair, tears running down her cheeks, trying so hard to contain herself that she shook. How different things would become.

^ Should have been a blockquote for that last paragraph.

@Helianthus:
You don't understand. It's going up really fast. At the current rate it will be 700,000 by tomorrow afternoon.

@Narad:
If you have better ideas for sales tactics, I'm all ears. But that's just a necessary stopgap. The real value is in fixing the trust problem.

By justthestats (not verified) on 13 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ ken:

Orac has already dealt with that article : "Another swing at the fences,,,," , May 11, 2011. Place "Mary Holland" in the search box.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Beth:

One of the problems is that young parents get information on the internet from *untrustworthy* people who distort the facts and present material to frighten them. Orac has been writing about this= and illustrating it- for years.

One item you mention involves mistrusting medicine because of the pharmaceutical companies. Did you know that this is one of the chief talking points of both the anti-vaccine movement and alternative medicine? Don't some physicians- like Orac and Ben Goldacre- criticise these very companies? Because a company has behaved in an unseemly fashion doesn't mean that medicine as a whole is corrupt and wrong about its research.

The question I have is why do parents place their trust in people who frequently have an agenda fuelled by emotional or monetary factors?They present material about the corporations which may be true in part although it is vastly exaggerated and embellished to suit their needs.
What makes *these* people more trustworthy than the so-called medical establishment? Mike Adams sells supplements and superfoods as well as media; contributors @ AoA are selling a theory and their books which often brings each a measure of celebrity. Don't they have a conflict of interest?

Advocates like these are asking parents to be suspicious of most doctors, scientists, research journals, governmental agencies ( around the world) and the media YET to instead place their trust in supplement salesmen and distraught parents who have little to no education or expertise in the complex science which they blithely discuss. Isn't there something wrong with that?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

And exactly on cue, Dan Olmsted has an article @ AoA asking people EXACTLY that- believe him, not the evidence-based consensus.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Narad - What Justthestats said #230

@Denise

I'll try to answer your questions:

"One item you mention involves mistrusting medicine because of the pharmaceutical companies. Did you know that this is one of the chief talking points of both the anti-vaccine movement and alternative medicine? Don’t some physicians- like Orac and Ben Goldacre- criticise these very companies? Because a company has behaved in an unseemly fashion doesn’t mean that medicine as a whole is corrupt and wrong about its research. "

Yes to all three questions. It's still a powerful point because it's true. And while it doesn't mean that medicine as a whole is corrupt and wrong, it means that most people are justifiably leery about trusting ALL of medicine because it might be corrupt.

The question I have is why do parents place their trust in people who frequently have an agenda fuelled by emotional or monetary factors?
What makes *these* people more trustworthy than the so-called medical establishment?

These I can't answer. People have to choose who to place their trust in and they rarely do it based on rational and evidenced reasons. That's sort of the point I'm trying to make and I think that Vivian was also trying to make. I don't think you can present sufficient evidence to make someone trust you although you can present enough evidence to destroy their trust in someone else.

Once trust is gone, it's hard to recover. Building trust is a long term process. How do you convince someone who doesn't really trust the system that they should for vaccines?

If it helps, it's not just the medical system. Ferguson is now a well-known example of why many blacks don't trust the police. There is no easy fix for relationship problems.

@ Beth:

People may place their trust in these people because they advance stories that present them in a sympathetic or admirable light:
parents may identify with another parent whose child was 'damaged'; people may want to emulate a brave, idealistic scientist/ journalist who is sweeping dirt into public view and airing out the rancid inner sanctum of power.

And you are correct- one of the ways they get others to believe in them is by demolishing trust in institutions. For the past 15 years, I have been monitoring alt media messaging and this is the groundwork for all of their endeavors. Thus, I observe how the material changes and transforms to fit whatever is next on their agenda. ANYTHING that shows imperfect transparency is utilised to create mistrust HOWEVER the presenters themselves keep changing their own stories and re-assembling facts as they dissemble.The same stories are told and re-told and as we know, repetition increases what is remembered. In addition, pointing your finger at others' malfeasance distracts your audience from looking at your own

A few days ago I watched a documentary, Citizen Four, about Edward Snowden in which he compared informers on the internet to the mythological Hydra- if you cut off one head, five more pop up.
Unfortunately, this applies for misinformation purveyors as well.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Beth

"I don’t think you can present sufficient evidence to make someone trust you although you can present enough evidence to destroy their trust in someone else."

I love it. Thank you Beth. This is the best quote about trust I have seen in a long time. And it applies so well to the vaccination issue.

Here is one way to start building trust. We know that many drug companies have been fined for criminal wrongdoings.

http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma

Let us make it MANDATORY that when a drug company is found guilty of such a crime in future, the most senior employee who was aware of the violation MUST go to prison. No exceptions.

It's kind of depressing, but using facts and logic to show people how they're wrong doesn't really work. There are numerous studies about it, and I have all kinds of anecdotal experience that agrees. People don't like to be told they're full of horsesh*t, I guess, even if you try to do it as nicely and calmly as possible.

Building trust doesn't really seem to work all that well either, though. There's a pediatrician I know in Portland - one of my old housemates used to work as his secretary - who is about the nicest, most trustworthy guy you could meet. He runs a pediatric clinic which bills insurance but also runs on small yearly dues. The idea is to provide the kind of personal, attentive care that people seem to be seeking with "alternative" practitioners, but to do so with evidence-based medicine. I mean, he's a nice, hippie doctor who plays guitar and sings goofy songs to the kids - and yet he's got anti-vaxxers bringing down his g--gle scores because he doesn't "respect their choices."

All I can really come up with is that an actual skeptical or scientific worldview is profoundly countercultural, probably because it goes against something pretty deeply ingrained in human nature. "Question everything" is a hard row to hoe, a lot harder than "question the mainstream media" or "question the CDC" or whatever. Constantly being open to the possibility that you yourself could be wrong is not something most people are interested in doing.

@Helianthus

Seriously? Having mandatory vaccination in specific contexts is going to lead to/condone forced incarceration or circumcision?

No, not necessarily. I was asked to provide examples of where people are attempting to use the force of law to compel others to follow doctor's orders. So I did.

By your logic, maybe we should disband child protection services. Same stuff. These government agencies are here to enforce policies and laws telling parents what they should do or not do to their children.

Disbanding might be a little much. But maybe we should strongly consider reigning it in.

Maryland family under investigation for letting their kids walk home alone.

Mom arrested for leaving 9-year-old alone at park

Florida mom arrested after letting 7-year-old walk to the park alone.

Read on the slippery slope fallacy.

Yeah- I know what the slippery slope fallacy is. The problem is when people are using hypotheticals. These aren't hypotheticals.

(sorry, blockquote fail) :(

Slipping down a slope all the while proclaiming, "What slope? There's no slope!" is known as denial.

@JP

All I can really come up with is that an actual skeptical or scientific worldview is profoundly countercultural, probably because it goes against something pretty deeply ingrained in human nature.

Of course it goes against something pretty deeply ingrained in human nature... it goes against every aspect of consciousness that isn't the rational intellect. Emotions, feelings, intuition, insight, inspiration. The list goes on and on.

Rational materialism is obviously important to scientific inquiry. But attempting to elevate rational materialism to a worldview encompassing the whole of human experience is absurdly ludicrous. It doesn't even make rational sense.

I'm not a materialist, Matt.

JP- Never said you were. I was trying to agree with you.

BTW, Matt, I'm still waiting for the follow-through on this one:

Laws are much more difficult to change. As evidenced by the plethora of outdated (and ridiculous) laws on the books. For example, laws forbidding one to swear in front of a lady, or have sex in any position other than missionary.

Never said you were. I was trying to agree with you.

Ah. Well, I don't think you do, although you might agree with a casual misreading of what I wrote.

Of course it goes against something pretty deeply ingrained in human nature… it goes against every aspect of consciousness that isn’t the rational intellect. Emotions, feelings, intuition, insight, inspiration. The list goes on and on.

First off, what I was referring to as "deeply ingrained in human nature" is not something I find appealing or interesting. It's the tendency to operate blindly on assumptions and biases. It's stupid and boring to base your life on hoary old assumptions that you picked up from your parents, your religious texts, your political party, your culture, your subculture, your own mental narratives, etc., etc.

I find an attitude of questioning to be much more "inspiring" and "insightful," actually. Question your own biases and assumptions. Question what this thing you so blithely call "consciousness" is and whether it exists at all. Question whether "you" really exist at all. Otherwise you're going to go through life missing out on at least 90% of what's right in front of your face.

Curses! Blasphemy, profanity laws still on the books

Since this article was from 2009, I thought I'd follow up on some of the links to the statutes in question. Yup, still on the books. Here is an example:

Michigan Penal Code

750.337 Women and children; improper language in presence.

Sec. 337.

Indecent, etc., language in presence of women or children—Any person who shall use any indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar or insulting language in the presence or hearing of any woman or child shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Sex laws? Here is a reference guide:

The Complete List of Weird Sex Laws in the U.S.A.

@ JP:

No need to get morose because the same system operating in human nature that includes various biases is accompanied by the equally human quality of observing one's self and - possibly, if I do dare say so- self-correcting.

We learn that during adolescence, we develop a capacity to question the rules as well as ourselves- as kids develop abilities in abstraction, they may apply them to critiquing prevalent social conventions, their own identity and political or social norms. Alongside algebra and the scientific method, their 'studies' may include revolution, identity transformation and radical forms of idealism, as surely as integrating metacognition and other executive functions into their repetoire. They may try on different roles as well as embarking upon self- improvement- intellectually as well as physically .It's interesting that philosophies, religions and disciplines ( like meditation, martial arts and yoga) may be part of their itinerary.

So don't give up hope. There's an audience for scepticism as well as an audience for woo.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

Beth: "Building trust is a long term process. How do you convince someone who doesn’t really trust the system that they should for vaccines? "

Ask which parts of the system they do trust and why. Point out that a surgery or chemo is a lot riskier than a simple poke.

Alternatively, call the parent's bluff- give them a first aid kit, wish them well, give them a fake phone number and contact their main doctor and say they no longer want medical treatment, ever. If they think they're smarter than the medical system, let them prove it.

Also, make perks dependent on vaccines, like airlines reserve humane treatment for first class travelers. If enough parents vaccinate in a ped's practice, they should have a party thrown for them, and the anti-vaxxers parents get to hear about the perks. Since the typical anti-vaxxer is a high-strung type-a, hearing about other parents (especially people who are doing parenting wrong in their opinion) something like that would bring 'em running.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

First off, what I was referring to as “deeply ingrained in human nature” is not something I find appealing or interesting. It’s the tendency to operate blindly on assumptions and biases. It’s stupid and boring to base your life on hoary old assumptions that you picked up from your parents, your religious texts, your political party, your culture, your subculture, your own mental narratives, etc., etc.

@JP

I find an attitude of questioning to be much more “inspiring” and “insightful,” actually.

Have you ever questioned why an "attitude of questioning" has that type of effect on you?

Question your own biases and assumptions. Question what this thing you so blithely call “consciousness” is and whether it exists at all. Question whether “you” really exist at all.

Sure, why not? I agree these are worthy endeavors.

But when it comes to questioning the scientific consensus... is that something we shouldn't do? When it comes to the scientific consensus we should just trust whatever we are told or whatever is written in the textbooks?

And not only that, but we should pass laws compelling people to accept scientific consensus as their worldview and/or punishing people who do not comply? Enlighten me on your views in this respect.

Otherwise you’re going to go through life missing out on at least 90% of what’s right in front of your face.

90%?! Careful throwing out claims like that, or Narad might ask you for conclusive evidence to back up such a claim, thus diverting attention away from the actual conversation at hand. ;-)

Considering the supreme limitations of your physical senses and cognition, I would venture a guess that you can't help but miss out on a whole lot of what's right in front of your face.

And how can you be sure you are not missing out on something important with all the incessant questioning? Maybe there is something really cool you might discover by setting your questioning aside- even for a short time. Have you considered that possibility?

@Beth

Building trust is a long term process. How do you convince someone who doesn’t really trust the system that they should for vaccines?

How about... by making the system trustworthy? By actually addressing and correcting all the serious flaws in our medical system?

90%?! Careful throwing out claims like that, or Narad might ask you for conclusive evidence to back up such a claim, thus diverting attention away from the actual conversation at hand.

Given that I have a very good idea of what JP is talking about, that would be a "no."

But when it comes to questioning the scientific consensus… is that something we shouldn’t do? When it comes to the scientific consensus we should just trust whatever we are told or whatever is written in the textbooks?

Straw man. No one says the scientific consensus shouldn't be questioned. However, if someone questions it without sufficient data and evidence to support his "questioning" he will quite correctly be taken to task for that. In addition, when "questioning" based on pseudoscience and outright misinformation results in a threat to public health (such as antivaccine views) then that being taken to task will be that much more intense.

In other words, you can "question" the scientific consensus about this or that all you like, but if you don't have the science, data, and arguments to back your "questioning" up you will be subject to severe criticism. Freedom of speech does not equal freedom from criticism for your speech.

Since this article was from 2009, I thought I’d follow up on some of the links to the statutes in question. Yup, still on the books. Here is an example:

Michigan Penal Code

Which has been found to be unconstitutionally vague and therefore without effect.

Remember, your assertion was that such examples demonstrate something about laws being difficult to change, not that such laws hang around because they don't do anything and nobody gives a rat's ass.

Sex laws? Here is a reference guide

That's not a "reference guide," it's an unsourced listicle.

@Denice:

No need to get morose because the same system operating in human nature that includes various biases is accompanied by the equally human quality of observing one’s self and – possibly, if I do dare say so- self-correcting.

Oh, I'm not feeling particularly morose today. A little perverse, maybe, but that's pretty much par for the course. I do think it's realistic, though, to recognize that skepticism - even in a broad sense - has a minority appeal. Of course, I'd be open to changing my opinion if there are any good studies on the matter. :)

And, I remember a conversation I had about ten years ago or so about pessimism vs. realism:

"I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist."
"Yeah, you're a very realistic manic-depressive."
"F*ck you, Don."

They may try on different roles as well as embarking upon self- improvement- intellectually as well as physically .It’s interesting that philosophies, religions and disciplines ( like meditation, martial arts and yoga) may be part of their itinerary.

Incidentally, I don't know about other forms of meditation, but Zen is most emphatically not a course of self-improvement. It's also not "spirituality."

Being a good person is a desirable thing, though, which is where the Buddhism part comes in.

So don’t give up hope. There’s an audience for scepticism as well as an audience for woo.

Ahh, don't worry. I plan on being a royal pain in the a** 'till I croak.

Jamie, I used 'self-improvement; for lack if a better catch-all.
Perhaps there is no self.

Be that as it may.
and obviously scepticism will remain a minority view but hopefully it will inform general culture in some manner.
After all, the Enlightenment was not a mass movement but...

Now I have to run ...

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Matt:

Have you ever questioned why an “attitude of questioning” has that type of effect on you?

Of course.

But when it comes to questioning the scientific consensus… is that something we shouldn’t do? When it comes to the scientific consensus we should just trust whatever we are told or whatever is written in the textbooks?

What Orac said at #255. Also, scientific consensus is based on observation and evidence, not on assumptions. And it's constantly being refined and, yes, questioned, unlike, say, vitalism or whatever.

And not only that, but we should pass laws compelling people to accept scientific consensus as their worldview and/or punishing people who do not comply? Enlighten me on your views in this respect.

Another straw man. You can't legislate anybody's worldview, but you can pass laws about certain actions or lack of them, sure. Can you be more specific?

Considering the supreme limitations of your physical senses and cognition, I would venture a guess that you can’t help but miss out on a whole lot of what’s right in front of your face.

Obviously. I can make the best of the limited physical senses I've got, though. I don't know how far you actually want to get into this, but go read a primer on the three poisons, specifically "ignorance," and get back to me.

And how can you be sure you are not missing out on something important with all the incessant questioning? Maybe there is something really cool you might discover by setting your questioning aside- even for a short time. Have you considered that possibility?

A general attitude of questioning or skepticism doesn't mean I'm walking around cogitating all the time. You'd miss out on a lot of things that way, I'd guess, like cherry blossoms, to be cliched about it.

'Building trust is a long term process. How do you convince someone who doesn’t really trust the system that they should for vaccines?'

Matt: "How about… by making the system trustworthy? By actually addressing and correcting all the serious flaws in our medical system?"

You know, even with Medicare abuses, faulty medical devices, pharmaceutical company gouging, research fraud and other problems incompletely addressed, I still would accept antibiotic therapy for a severe infection, get my appendix removed if clinically indicated, or follow the vaccination recommendations that have eradicated or severely curtailed dangerous infectious diseases.

The alternatives aren't very attractive.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Orac

It's not a strawman. That would mean I was intentionally misstating a view. I was asking for clarification on the view. That's the opposite of portraying that I already know what it is.

I disagree that one needs data in order to question. It's the question that drives the data-seeking. Not the other way around. Besides- not everybody is in a position to go about acquiring such data, or even being able to freely access that data which exists.

In the specific case of antivaccine tropes... yes the same old crusty ones keep getting trotted out again and again. But as you have pointed out, it seems that no amount of taking people to task about it is actually preventing the re-emergence of said tropes.

So what to do? Some people apparently believe it is appropriate to leverage the force of law in order to compel compliance with (what essentially amounts to) a doctor's orders. I happen to think that's a really bad idea.

As for "severe criticism" I believe that is appropriate for people who are actually making false claims. But to criticize for simply questioning? I don't see how that is productive.

Can you clarify what you mean by this?

United States v. Flowers is similarly a dud.

Folks- I've gotta run for now. My pregnant wife is starting to "question" why I am spending so much time chatting with my
"Internet friends" instead of spending time with her this afternoon.

(haha Are we all friends now? If so I'm looking for a craft beer drinking buddy since my wife is out of commission.)

Ciao for now.

But to criticize for simply questioning? I don’t see how that is productive.

As demonstrated in the Seneff comments, your modus operandi is pretty much to throw out specific items, wait for other people to examine them for you, and then resort to increasingly nebulous positions.

There's <a href="http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions"a name for this.

I disagree that one needs data in order to question. It’s the question that drives the data-seeking. Not the other way around.

Then you're just JAQ'ing off. How did you arrive at the question that can potentially challenge a consensus?

Besides- not everybody is in a position to go about acquiring such data, or even being able to freely access that data which exists.

Oh so any schmuck with an internet connection is qualified to refute scientific consensus?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

Then you’re just JAQ’ing off.

I think there's a case for an alternative classification as sealioning.

How did you arrive at the question that can potentially challenge a consensus?

You don't arrive at the question. You start there.

@Denice:

Jamie, I used ‘self-improvement; for lack if a better catch-all.

I see. I was being cantankerously precise, which is sort of what I do. ;)

Perhaps there is no self.

Yep.

@Matt

How about… by making the system trustworthy? By actually addressing and correcting all the serious flaws in our medical system?

That would be ideal. In the meantime, children are born and parents make a choice for them. That shouldn't change.

@Victor #238

Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot to me. I think your suggestion is excellent, but rather improbable for the U.S. I've heard they do something like that in China. I recall hearing about some Chinese company executive being executed when his companies product turned out to have poisoned babies. It will be interesting to see how that strategy works out for them.

the most senior employee who was aware of the violation MUST go to prison. No exceptions.

One of the perks of seniority is being able to avoid a paper trail.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

You don’t arrive at the question. You start there.

Not in Matt's case I'm afraid.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

Perhaps there is no self.

Yep.

Attempting to dispense with "the series of acts and mental states as introspectively recognized" does not strike me as a likely candidate for getting much of anything desirable* done.

* Now, that's begging the question. Sort of.

@JP:

Although it's a long story, I do recommend the 1977 Bench Press edition as a reckoning point if you're interested in Millbrook. I picked up a library binding for $5 or so a couple of years back. (I'm also mildly surprised that the price of the hardcover has dropped by an order of magnitude in the meantime.)

Attempting to dispense with “the series of acts and mental states as introspectively recognized” does not strike me as a likely candidate for getting much of anything desirable* done.

I was referring to the doctrine of anattā, to be more clear, not to some vague state of "egolessness." Obviously you need an "ego" to get anything done - the mistake is in believing that it has some sort of essence that's separate from everything else.

I got some good advice from a friend not too long after I'd moved out at 16, which went along the lines of, "You gotta be amphibious, kid. I mean, you have to play the game, or you're going to end up dead in a gutter or something."

@PGP

Ask which parts of the system they do trust and why. Point out that a surgery or chemo is a lot riskier than a simple poke.

*sigh*
Sorry to rain on your parade, but...
Did you miss the part where a lot of people are completely freaked out by chemo? Or surgery, for that matter. Just read the recent threads on the late wellness warrior. Chemo is not a good reference for risk comparison.
I also suspect that there is a lot of overlap between people wary of vaccines and those suspicious of chemo. They will just tell you they trust no part of the system.
Also, telling people poking is less riskier than chemo doesn't answer their question: is the vaccine safe? They don't care if chemo is riskier, they don't consider taking chemo, they consider taking vaccines. And they will also call you on your assertion, if you don't gave them evidence. After all, this little poke is just the Troyan horse for injecting a lot of ZOMG CHemicalz!!!

Beside, people who are sick are willing to take more risks than people who feel healthy. So healthy people are going to say it's not the same risk/benefit assessment. And they will be entirely right.

@ matt

How about… by making the system trustworthy? By actually addressing and correcting all the serious flaws in our medical system?

*re-sigh*
In a recent thread, we just agreed that one "cannot reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into".
Fear could have rational triggers or enforcers, but at its core fear is in no way something rational.
The system could be perfect and there would still be people mistrusting it and other people interested at feeding this mistrust. Just look at all the threads these past 6 months about people refusing chemo for some nonsensical treatment. Even in cases where science can trot out numbers and testimonials of its success.
We have anti-vaxers in US, Canada, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan... All countries with different medical systems, different healthcare management, and different cultural biases towards science. Seems to me the issue is more generic and widespread than just some local misbehavior.

That's not a reason not to try to improve things. Obviously, if only we scientists were only a little less asocial and a little more better at sharing our knowledge... If only physicians and nurses and all the others had more time and resources to take care of their patients... If we were better at rooting out corruption and incompetence (an issue of will, but also of resources - my country doesn't have that many nurses and doctors to spare, so in a way better have half-competent ones rather than none)...
If the individuals in the society at large were a little less prone to common fallacies and a little less more than ready to follow the first false prophet...

Oh, but what am I saying? People reaping that they sow?
In Florida, you have politicians writing in the law how much the sea level is going to rise, if any. You have states willing to enforce by law the teaching of Creationism in biology classes.
These laws are made because people like you elected these nutjobs in position of leadership.
So take a good look in the mirror and keep your advice on what scientists should do to get trust and respect.

Beside, you are talking about human endeavor and medicine, i.e. biology. I will tell you a little secret: humans, for all their smartiness, are very prone to buggering even the most simple tasks, and biology is very messy (well, since human behavior is just applied biology, no wonder we mishandle things).
It's bell curves all the way down. A few outperforming individuals, a big blob of more-or-less average individuals, and at the low end a few individuals who obviously got the biological short straw.
There will always be outliers who modern medicine wouldn't be able to help, and there will always be people being people and mucking things up.

tl;dr: trust isn't something which will be achieved rationally.
And medicine will never be perfect, and especially never be staffed only by jolly good - and all-knowing - fellows.
That's the reality we have been dealt, and going on "just do it" tangents isn't going to solve anything.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@JP #239
"Building trust doesn’t really seem to work all that well either, though. There’s a pediatrician I know in Portland – one of my old housemates used to work as his secretary – who is about the nicest, most trustworthy guy you could meet"

The distrust about vaccination has nothing to do with trusting/distrusting a pediatrician. It has to do with distrust in the government, in CDC, in pharma companies, and so on. They are the ones who have to repair the distrust.

There was a survey done some time ago (don't have the link) in which Americans were asked this question:

During peace time, a civilian Iranian jetliner has crashed in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government claims that it was shot down by US military (possibly accidentally). The US government denies it. Which side's claim would you trust?

The majority of surveyed Americans said that they would need some more independent information about the crash before they can decide. In other words, the credibility of the US government was not much different from that of its archenemy Iran.

@Science Mom

First off... I really like your gravatar there. Secondly, don't be a ninny.

I wasn't questioning the scientific consensus on vaccines.

Sheesh.. talk about a strawman! (I'm sorry- does strawmanning get a free pass on this blog as long as the person doing it is on the "right" side of the debate?!)

@Beth #271
"I think your suggestion is excellent, but rather improbable for the U.S. .. I recall hearing about some Chinese company executive being executed when his companies product turned out to have poisoned babies."

Actually I wasn't thinking anything that harsh. A simple prison stay of a couple of years may provide sufficient deterrence to future criminals. Right now the fines in the US provide little or no deterrence. They just become a (small) cost of doing business.

@Narad

... and your modus operandi appears to be to start off with some causal trolling, and then make increasingly intrusive demands for evidence for every little comment that somebody makes once you've targeted them for elimination. (Or whatever it is that you do.)

Fact of the matter is: I've said nothing here that is anti-vaccine, and I've said nothing in the other thread that is anti-GMO.

I just don't happen to agree with some of the tactics that are being employed in order to deal with all the disinformation that is out there.

start off with some causal trolling

I'm having visions of God creating the world ex nihilo with a little causal trolling. I certainly feel trolled much of the time.

once you’ve targeted them for elimination. (Or whatever it is that you do.)

This may be the most entertaining thing I've read all day. Thanks for the break from the monotony of BSing this statement of purpose for a grant application. (I hate writing these things.)

Victor may be confused about actual polling that was done in 1988, after a U.S. military shootdown of an Iranian jetliner that was mistaken for a hostile F-14 (the polls, which were done before the U.S. version of events was substantially challenged, strongly supported the U.S. action):

http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1988/Public-Backed-U-S-in-Downing-of-Irani…

As to who is more believable now, the U.S. government or that of Iran - 93% of Americans in a recent poll said that Iranian development of a nuclear bomb was a critical or important threat to the U.S., which is as strong or stronger a stance than the American government has taken on the issue.

http://www.pollingreport.com/iran.htm

Matt: "Fact of the matter is: I’ve said nothing here that is anti-vaccine, and I’ve said nothing in the other thread that is anti-GMO."

But of course, you are Just Asking Questions, and expressing Concern about the tactics of pro-science advocates which might jeopardize acceptance of the science that you obviously hold in high regard.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor: "The distrust about vaccination has nothing to do with trusting/distrusting a pediatrician. It has to do with distrust in the government, in CDC, in pharma companies, and so on."

How does that explain the anti-vaccine movements in Japan, the UK, Germany, etc? Are you assuming the CDC and US government are the center of concern there?

Now, explain to us how Wakefield's fraudulent actions were the fault of the CDC and any pharmaceutical company.

@Dangerous Bacon

But of course, you are Just Asking Questions, and expressing Concern about the tactics of pro-science advocates which might jeopardize acceptance of the science that you obviously hold in high regard.

Yes, that's right. I don't think that shaming, ridiculing, or using the force of law, to get people to accept science is wise or ethical.

Most importantly- I certainly don't think it is effective. And unless you've got some hard data to prove that it is, you're just operating on conjecture. Hardly scientific.

@JP

Happy to be of service!

BSing this statement of purpose for a grant application

Wait wait... are you saying that you actually need to make stuff up in order to get money to perform research?!

Ah yes... the hallowed halls of science. So noble. So pure. (Well if it weren't for all the JAQ-off splatter all over the walls.)

I wasn’t questioning the scientific consensus on vaccines.

I never said you did. What was that again about ninny and strawman?

Ah yes… the hallowed halls of science. So noble. So pure. (Well if it weren’t for all the JAQ-off splatter all over the walls.)

Christ on a cracker; you really don't know how this stuff works do you? Magnets anyone?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ Narad:

Well, I *could* have gone all David Hume on the subject of the self
BUT I DIDN'T.
I'm sure that all are thankful for that

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Matt:

I'm in the humanities; I'm also a poet. I make sh*t up all the time.

The grant is actually intended to defray the costs of a summer internship in the city government of L'viv. I'm considering a possible career in the Foreign Service, or maybe making connections that could lead to future ex-pat-hood, given the dearth of tenure track jobs in the humanities in general, my field in particular.

@Denice:

Aw, c'mon, it could be fun.

He's not JAQ'ing off...he's a concern troll, Science Mom.

Why don't you provide some suggestions about posting comments which are evidence-based/science-based, with some proof, that do not *antagonize anti-vaxxers, Matt?

* Calling Dr. Jay to tutor us in civility.

Well, I *could* have gone all David Hume on the subject of the self

You say "bundle of sensations", I say "Skandha".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

Actually, bimler, most of my familiarity** with Buddhism can be attributed to listening to a bunch ( or bundle?) of psychologists sitting around and talking about the subject. A few of the them were psychotherapists. Go figure.

** other than a course in early Asian history and culture

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

G-d! I've had an interesting life!
But let's not go there. I wouldn't want to get sued.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

A few of the them were psychotherapists. Go figure.

A lot of therapists are into Buddhism of a sort. Most of DBT was taken straight out of Buddhist practice, for instance.

G-d! I’ve had an interesting life!
But let’s not go there. I wouldn’t want to get sued.

so I guess it'll just be me
in the corner bleeding autobiography.

JP, I know so much awful stuff about people - and I exclude clients as a matter of course- just relatives, friends,
paramours and extended contacts through them. It's a veritable horror show**, not good at all. Sex. corruption, malfeasance, greed and incredibly nosey people who have no lives of their own to speak of so they have to mind others' business.

Right now I am trying to intervene for two extremely emotionally vulnerable cousins who are being harassed by distant relations seeking money and probably, entertainment at their distress.

** pun.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Denice:

Oy. That does not sound fun at all.

Oddly enough, I relate to you quite a bit. I seem to be an unofficial therapist for almost everyone I know IRL, I guess because I really like people and I'm a good listener. I also have a memory like a fly trap. I've sort of been feeling, lately, like a sponge that's been soaked to capacity and is now being squeezed out by some invisible hand, probably ruining that rug forever. It's a bit like being "unstuck in time."

The general effect has also been causing my own stuff to spill out, too, although that's been going on a little bit longer, like a while back when I suddenly spat out to somebody "oh btw there was this rape a couple years back and I was on the wrong end of it and I sort of never said anything about it OOPS."

Good luck helping your cousins.

A lot of therapists are into Buddhism of a sort
Theravada OF COURSE.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

I don’t think that shaming, ridiculing, or using the force of law, to get people to accept science is wise or ethical.

People are perfectly free to reject science if they feel like it, and would have been even if the bill had passed.

When we change the meaning of words for reasons of “tactics” or expediency (in other words because we’re too lazy to do it the right way) we undermine the entire fabric of linguistics upon which the whole concept of law is predicated.

The concept of law is not predicated on the fabric of linguistics. That's quite literally nonsense.

That’s quite literally nonsense.

You're talking to someone who thought this made sense in the You Fools Don't Know The MEANINGS Of Words Department: "A policy is different from a law. Policies are set by agencies which are typically authorized by law to create said policies."

Because laws have nothing to do with public policy. Or something.

@Matt
Thank you for your very insightful comments.

Looks like most of the aggressively pro-vax people here (if not all) work for drug companies. They have carefully avoided any comment about the sins of the pharma companies, e.g., the suggestion that pharma executives found guilty of criminal wrongdoing should go to prison.

Of course, they will either ignore this comment or mock it. But if their goal is to win more trust in the vaccines, they are not succeeding.

Helianthus: "Did you miss the part where a lot of people are completely freaked out by chemo? Or surgery, for that matter. Just read the recent threads on the late wellness warrior. Chemo is not a good reference for risk comparison."

Actually it is- anti-vax parents have no life outside of their kids, therefore they will do anything to keep the kids alive, and it isn't just chemo- I imagine that they might be a little more tractable once the pediatrician explains that the parents will have to set any bones kid breaks, and oh, yeah, the ped can't do anything if it heals wrong. Or that emergency surgery/transfusions/stitches are also off the table. Like I said, the parents need to be called on account- if vaccines are off the table, so is everything medical. Ever. Here's the first-aid kit, here are some bandages, there's the door.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 14 Mar 2015 #permalink

"Like I said, the parents need to be called on account- if vaccines are off the table, so is everything medical. Ever. Here’s the first-aid kit, here are some bandages, there’s the door."

The arrogance of the vaccination fascists is beyond belief. They will make you an offer (a la Godfather) you can't refuse.

@ Pgp

Like I said, the parents need to be called on account- if vaccines are off the table, so is everything medical.

A bit harsh, especially since the ones which will suffer are not the ones deciding but rather their children.
But right now, I'm so tired of all this sh!t that I could go for this suggestion.

There is an old adage about the foolishness of ignoring the advice of experts.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Actually it is- anti-vax parents have no life outside of their kids, therefore they will do anything to keep the kids alive, and it isn’t just chemo-

People who would do anything to keep their kids alive? Freaks!

Sadly, though, people who are deep enough into alt med won't do anything to keep their kids alive. (Think of Makayla Sault, for instance.) And then the kids die. Poor kids.

I had a buddhist therapist once. Perfect match for a wasp like me. Feelings just never came up.

That's funny, feelings come up in my Buddhist practice all the time.

alright - they came up but they aren't permanent and don't get attached to them. Mostly it amused me and it was a very good match. Made a great bit in a stand up routine.

@Ann

The concept of law is not predicated on the fabric of linguistics. That’s quite literally nonsense.

Yes- you are right that doesn't really make sense the way I worded it. Good thing I wasn't attempting to draft a law with my post.

@brook:

Fair enough. :)

Of course, they will either ignore this comment or mock it. But if their goal is to win more trust in the vaccines, they are not succeeding.

ZOMG!!11 ZOMG!!!!11 YER ALL PHARMA SHILLZ.

There Victor, how's that.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Science Lady

You said: How did you arrive at the question that can potentially challenge a consensus?

How did I arrive at the question that can potentially challenge a consensus? I didn't.

@Victor

I'm not on your "team" dude. I'm not on any "team" here.

According to my view- this whole "You're either for us or against us." attitude which seems to pervade just about every topic nowadays is the problem, itself.

You're projecting your view on to my words just like some other supposed "pro-vaxxers" here.

The problem is: Nobody ever really asked me what my view on vaccines was. They just jump to assumptions.

Well here... why don't I just tell you. Especially since I have a baby due in just a few weeks it's particularly relevant for me right now.

My view is: I distrust anybody who claims that vaccines are 100% safe, and that anybody who has a question about them must be an "anti-vax" nutter. I also distrust anybody who claims that vaccines are 100% unsafe, and that anybody who supports the current vaccination schedule is a "Pharma shill."

Why? Well first off, because there are different types of vaccines. Secondly, because each vaccine has a different risk/benefit profile.

So here's what I'm planning to do. I'm planning to vaccinate my kid, and to consult with a pediatrician about exactly which vaccines to give and when.

I'm hoping that the pediatrician can actually formulate a more nuanced opinion than simply, "Vaccines are the BEST THING EVARRR and you should do whatever the CDC says you should do because government agencies are AWESOME, and you should blindly trust whatever they say. And if you DON'T do whatever they say, I will kick you out of my practice, call CPS on you, and hope that you get put in jail."

(I'm exaggerating for effect BTW.)

We'll find out next week. Wish me luck.

At this moment I get an advertisement for Easy Health Options, with a poll about forced vaccinations. One could guess where that leads to.
Though my understanding of English, might be limited, but I think I can see the difference between forced and mandatory.

@lilady

Why don’t you provide some suggestions about posting comments which are evidence-based/science-based, with some proof, that do not *antagonize anti-vaxxers, Matt?

I imagine that "anti-vaxxers" will be antagonized whatever you say. But here are some suggestions for the vast majority* who live somewhere between black and white. (*no I don't have a citation for that)

If somebody rolls in with a "stupid" question or a nonsensical "anti-vax" trope that keeps rearing its ugly head no matter how many times it's been slapped down... first of all don't sit idly by while other members of your "community" (or whatever you want to call it) make troll-ish antagonistic comments about them.

You should have a zero-tolerance policy for trolling, name-calling, and other juvenile behaviors here.

Next up- you should attempt to establish rapport with the person by acknowledging that their concerns (however misguided you feel them to be) are actually coming from a place of love and care.

Assure them that's a good thing. For example: "It seems to me that you must really care about the health and well-being of yourself and your family. That's great! We also care a lot about people's health. We want people to be healthy too, and we applaud your efforts to look out for yourself and your loved ones."

How about starting there... and seeing if the conversation goes in a different direction.

My view is: I distrust anybody who claims that vaccines are 100% safe, and that anybody who has a question about them must be an “anti-vax” nutter.

That's good, because no one here says vaccines are 100% safe. Certainly I never have. What we do say is that the risk of vaccination is incredibly low and that the risk-benefit equation for vaccination comes out very much on the side of vaccination.

That being said, the claims that vaccines cause autism, that they don't work, that they cause SIDS, that they cause autoimmune disorders, that shaken baby syndrome is a misdiagnosis for "vaccine injury," that "shedding" from vaccinated children is really responsible for outbreaks, and a whole number of other demonstrably incorrect claims are based on misinformation, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories. These sorts of views are antivaccine.

I also distrust anybody who claims that vaccines are 100% unsafe, and that anybody who supports the current vaccination schedule is a “Pharma shill.”

Of course, only the most loony antivaxers claim that vaccines are "100% unsafe." Nice false dichotomy ya got there: You don't trust those who claim vaccines are "100% safe" (who don't exist) or those who claim vaccines are "100% unsafe" (who are rare), thus setting yourself up for the logical fallacy known as the appeal to the golden mean or the fallacy of moderation. The problem, of course, is that in science the correct answer doesn't necessarily lie between two extremes like this. There is a correct answer and there is an incorrect answer. The correct answer is that, to the best of science's ability to ascertain, the current vaccination program is safe and effective and does not cause autism, SIDS, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases, and the like.

As for your disparagement of the CDC-recommended schedule, you seem to act as though the CDC and AAP pulled that schedule out of its nether regions. To co-opt Isaac Asimov's famous observation that "creationists make it sound like a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being out drunk all night," after having read several of your comments I find it hard not to conclude that you make it sound as though the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule is something the panel charged with making vaccine recommendations thought up after an all night bender, rather than a carefully crafted set of recommendations based on science.

Few pediatricians have the requisite background knowledge or familiarity with the scientific literature to formulate their own recommended vaccine schedule. Those who claim they do tend to demonstrate through their reasoning (or, more appropriately, their lack thereof) that they don't understand the issues. ("Dr. Bob" Sears comes to mind.) So it is not a mark of shame or incompetence for a pediatrician to follow the CDC guidelines, nor is it an indication that they unthinkingly believe that government agencies are "awesome" and that vaccines are the "best thing evar" (although from my perspective vaccines do rank high on the list of best things ever, as well they should given the number of lives they've saved).

You should have a zero-tolerance policy for trolling, name-calling, and other juvenile behaviors here.

Next up- you should attempt to establish rapport with the person by acknowledging that their concerns (however misguided you feel them to be) are actually coming from a place of love and care.

And how do you know that my commenters haven't done that in the past or don't do that? You don't. You're a newbie, and this blog has been in existence over ten years, nine years on the same ScienceBlogs.com platform. It has a long history for a blog, and a few of the regular commenters here have even been here since near the beginning, back when this was a teeny tiny little blog with teeny tiny traffic.

Here's the thing. My commenters (and I) have a pretty good nose for commenters who are genuinely puzzled and worried about vaccines compared to antivax trolls who come in to stir up trouble, the latter of whom deserve the comments they get. Is their detection perfect? No, but over the last decade I've observed that it's pretty darned good.

@Science Lady

I apologize for calling you a ninny.

@Matt

Congratulations on the coming baby. You will love it!

I think what you say about vaccines makes a lot of sense. Your approach is similar to what my husband and I did with our kids. It's great if you have the time and ability to research each vaccine a bit to make your decision. You are correct that the cost/benefit equation is a bit different for each vaccine. It certainly made sense to me to evaluate them based on our family history and the risk of each disease in our local area. For example, we decided to skip the Hep B vaccine back in 1999 due to low risk of our newborn becoming infected. On the other hand, measles is so contagious that despite it being essentially non-existent in the US then, I had no qualms about making sure they got that vaccine.

Here's hoping that the pediatrician Matt seeks out for "a more nuanced opinion" on vaccination can provide an evidence-based justification for whatever delayed/partial immunization schedule Matt evidently wants.

This sort of half-assed vaccination program a la Bob Sears has been discussed here on numerous occasions. None of the "more nuanced" supporters of such a schedule have been able to justify it on a scientific basis, other than to make vague and unsupported allusions to things like limiting "toxin" exposure.

Matt needs to do more than chiding those narsty "pro-vaxxers" for their "extremist" attitudes and patting himself on the back for seeking out that oh-so-reasonable middle ground. Using due diligence to find out the consequences of occupying a middle ground between science and quackery would be an excellent idea.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor, you failed to answer this question: "Now, explain to us how Wakefield’s fraudulent actions were the fault of the CDC and any pharmaceutical company."

@Orac

Nice false dichotomy ya got there: You don’t trust those who claim vaccines are “100% safe” (who don’t exist) or those who claim vaccines are “100% unsafe” (who are rare), thus setting yourself up for the logical fallacy known as the appeal to the golden mean or the fallacy of moderation.

I know what false dichotomy and the fallacy of moderation are. (No thanks to 12 years of public education or even an undergraduate philosophy degree. I had to learn about logical fallacies on my own.)

I can see where it might seem to you that I am setting one up, but that's not what I was attempting to say. What I'm trying to say is that I am skeptical of anybody who expresses an extreme view on any topic, for or against.

I understand that the truth might not always lay squarely in the middle of two opposing views. What I'm actually trying to say is that I'm exasperated by every hot-button issue being framed in the context of two opposing views, and by others trying to pigeonhole me into one of the "two camps" by projecting into my comments, rather than straight-out asking me for clarification of my views.

The problem, of course, is that in science the correct answer doesn’t necessarily lie between two extremes like this.

Yes, of course. But neither does the correct answer necessarily lie in whatever the "consensus" happens to be at any given moment. That's appeal to the majority.

The correct answer is that, to the best of science’s ability to ascertain, the current vaccination program is safe and effective and does not cause autism, SIDS, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases, and the like.

I agree that is the correct answer, because you qualified it with "to the best of science's ability to ascertain."

As for your disparagement of the CDC-recommended schedule, you seem to act as though the CDC and AAP pulled that schedule out of its nether regions.

Sorry if it seems that way, but I do actually realize that a lot of careful thought by many different people has gone into making that recommendation. I do also realize how heavily swayed government agencies are by private industries who stand to make boatloads of money based upon their policymaking.

So that's life. I'm willing to accept it. But I don't like it.

after having read several of your comments I find it hard not to conclude that you make it sound as though the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule is something the panel charged with making vaccine recommendations thought up after an all night bender, rather than a carefully crafted set of recommendations based on science.

I'm not quite sure how you would make that assessment based upon several of my comments, since only a couple of them actually referred to the CDC vaccination schedule.

Remember- I'm not here to argue against vaccines. I'm here to argue against making laws to enforce the scientific consensus about vaccines. (Or any other scientific consensus, for that matter.)

And how do you know that my commenters haven’t done that in the past or don’t do that? You don’t.

You're right; I don't. All I have to go on is my own experience. Thus far, I've encountered several people who have engaged me in a polite and civil manner. I've also encountered several others who are rude and insert disruptive troll-ish comments into conversations I am attempting to have with others.

Sadly, it seems to me that certain individuals are given a "free pass" to be disruptive here on this blog, for reasons that I don't understand.

Here’s the thing. My commenters (and I) have a pretty good nose for commenters who are genuinely puzzled and worried about vaccines compared to antivax trolls who come in to stir up trouble, the latter of whom deserve the comments they get. Is their detection perfect? No, but over the last decade I’ve observed that it’s pretty darned good.

Well, at least you and some of your commenters are trying. As for others, I believe their detection methods need a little more work.

I am not here trying to "stir up trouble." I can assure you of that.

@Science Mom #311

Just as I thought. Mocking comes easy when you don't have anything better to say.

But I still see no takers on the simple suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison.

Everybody loves to hate Wakefield. But I think he should probably get a Nobel Prize if only for making people realize the extent of corruption inside the pharma industry and the drug marketing journal (aka medical journals) industry.

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0…

@Science Lady
I apologize for calling you a ninny.

Thank you and accepted. Though my 'nym is Science Mom or SM if you prefer.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor, so Wakefield's actions are forgiven by you because he was being paid by a lawyer while working for the NHS? Do they give Novel prizes for those who lie about their work?

So exactly how did the CDC and pharmaceutical companies cause Wakefield to commit change the data on the several of the dozen kids?

And exactly which of the three MMR vaccines that the UK introduced in 1988 was his research on? And why was there an American kid who got the American MMR vaccine?

Just as I thought. Mocking comes easy when you don’t have anything better to say.

And your "better things to say" include calling us pharma shills because we are muttering the Victor-approved indignation about sleazy pharma practises?

Everybody loves to hate Wakefield. But I think he should probably get a Nobel Prize if only for making people realize the extent of corruption inside the pharma industry and the drug marketing journal (aka medical journals) industry.

I hate to break this to you Victor but pharma misdeeds are pretty transparent. Have you ever even gone to the FDA or EMA websites to peruse the countless documents regarding violations and fines? Has Dr. Ben Goldacre been somehow silenced for his crusade against pharma shenanigans? Also, Wakefield should know about corruption; he falsified data, took a lot of money from the UK Legal Aid Board to do it, abused special needs children, was struck of the GMC for doing so (amongst other gross violations) and started up his own companies to profit off of his fraud. Sure give that man a Nobel prize.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Chris

Wakefield's ethics do not matter in the bigger picture. The ethics of pharma industry do. Vaccines are made by the pharma industry, not by Wakefiled in his garage.

I don't really care that much if Wakefield goes to prison or gets a Nobel prize. But I do care a lot about the ethics of people who test my vaccines. So what do you think of the suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison?

Remember- I’m not here to argue against vaccines. I’m here to argue against making laws to enforce the scientific consensus about vaccines. (Or any other scientific consensus, for that matter.)

Really? Do you think we should go back to allowing the sale of lead paint and lead children's toys? The ban on those things was based on the scientific consensus that lead is an extremely potent neurotoxin, after all.

^aren't FFS.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Really? Do you think we should go back to allowing the sale of lead paint and lead children’s toys? The ban on those things was based on the scientific consensus that lead is an extremely potent neurotoxin, after all.

You beat me to it, and there are many more examples.

For instance, should we allow the sale of leaded fuel again? After all, it's just a scientific consensus that lead in gasoline was a substantial contributor to pollution and potentially neurotoxic? Or perhaps we shouldn't be requiring adults to wear seat belts or babies and young children to be placed in car seats any more? After all, it's just a scientific consensus that people have a much greater chance of survival and of avoiding serious injury in a car crash if they are properly restrained. How dare the state enforce a scientific consensus forcing people to buckle up for greater safety? Or what about indoor smoking bans? After all, how dare the state enforce a scientific consensus that being around secondhand smoke all day at work raises the risk of respiratory and heart disease in workers? Or what about various pollution standards? We can't enforce a scientific consensus that certain pollutants cause harm to the environment and people and therefore should be limited, can we?

Funny how selective Matt seems to be about his dislike of "making laws to enforce the scientific consensus." It seems to be just about vaccines.

Victor: The arrogance of the vaccination fascists is beyond belief. They will make you an offer (a la Godfather) you can’t refuse.

Nope, simple logic. If the parents don't trust a pediatrician to give vaccines, they won't trust the pediatrician to provide other sorts of medical care. And why should the pediatrician have to put up with that? Also, the parents already believe that the education they have is superior to the ped's and therefore, only went to the office to antagonize the doctors. They don't actually want any medical care.

Matt: But here are some suggestions for the vast majority* who live somewhere between black and white.

I pointed out a while ago, that on this issue, there are no fence sitters. Pretending that there are is a flat-out lie.

Matt, again: Next up- you should attempt to establish rapport with the person by acknowledging that their concerns (however misguided you feel them to be) are actually coming from a place of love and care.

Oh, boy, you haven't actually met many anti-vaxxers have you? I dare you to read any ten posts at Age of Autism and Thinking Mom's Revolution. If you still think the parents at those blogs are capable of "love and care" for any one but themselves after reading their posts, I just don't know what to say. And these are the people who bankroll the famous anti-vaxxers, not a bunch of random trolls.
A lot of the other posters here have had more direct engagements with the people at those blogs. Rappaport isn't possible- I'd rather deal with pond scum any day.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor: "But I do care a lot about the ethics of people who test my vaccines"

And yet you are a Wakefield fanboi. You go on about how bad "Big Pharma" is, and yet have decided to defend Wakefield and his blatant fraudulent actions. This also includes his worthless lawsuits, and recently making videos where one included recording taking without the person's permission or knowledge.

@Politicalguineapig #331
Looks like the arrogance here is really deep-rooted. You are forgetting that the doctors work for the patients and not the other way around.

Businesses always put up with the whims of their customers even when they seem irrational.

@Chris.

I said I really don't care about Wakefield that much.

BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SUGGESTION THAT PHARMA EXECUTIVES WHO ARE GUILTY OF CRIMINAL WRONGDOING (IN RELATION TO DRUG TESTING, ETC) MUST GO TO PRISON?

Your silence (and that of others) on the above question is quite deafening.

So what do you think of the suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison?

It depends - what are the prescribed punishments for the crimes for which they've been found guilty? If they're guilty of a crime and the law says they must serve prison time, then of course.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

I’m here to argue against making laws to enforce the scientific consensus about vaccines. (Or any other scientific consensus, for that matter.)

Rules on vaccination aren't intended to enforce the scientific consensus - they're intended to preserve public health and should be based on the scientific consensus for what will best achieve that goal.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@mob #335
I am suggesting a tightening of the law. So a drug company found guilty of drug testing/safety/promotion related crime cannot get away with it by simply paying a fine (even if the fine is a trillion dollars). They must name the most senior person aware of the violation and offer him for sentencing.

Victor: "I said I really don’t care about Wakefield that much."

Ah really, fanboi? Here are your words: "Everybody loves to hate Wakefield. But I think he should probably get a Nobel Prize if only for making people realize the extent of corruption inside the pharma industry and the drug marketing journal (aka medical journals) industry. "

Oooh, you have become a bit shouty: "BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SUGGESTION THAT PHARMA EXECUTIVES WHO ARE GUILTY OF CRIMINAL WRONGDOING (IN RELATION TO DRUG TESTING, ETC) MUST GO TO PRISON?"

You have no real evidence that anyone associated with the development, manufacturing, testing and distribution of vaccines have engaged in any illegal activity. If you did you would not have made vague pronouncements.

Do tell us who is guilty and of what crime with real specifics. Just don't mention this one, which is just silly.

Victor: "So a drug company found guilty of drug testing/safety/promotion related crime cannot get away with it by simply paying a fine (even if the fine is a trillion dollars)."

Who did what, and where was it proved? Stick to vaccines and real crimes/

@Chris #334 and #336
You are so obsessed with Wakefield!
May be you are one of the pharma executives that I was referring to in #334.

Matt, you've been squatting here for days and have engaged in blatant concern trolling and tone trolling. You've also brought up archaic State laws, regulations and court cases, that have nothing to do with pending vaccination bills before multiple State legislatures.

You've been called out multiple times for your insulting, devoid of content, citationless comments....yet you still persist.

You've got your colossal nerve to presume to give me advice about how I comment, the content of my comments, the frequency of my comments and how I do or don't indulge thread-derailing tone trolls, concern trolls and other assorted cranks. Unlike you, I do have a real life and I do participate in discussions on many other science blogs, when I am online.

I suggest the next time you post a comment on Respectful Insolence that you refrain from engaging commenters who are actually knowledgeable about childhood vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases, immunology, bacteriology, epidemiology, Constitutional law and State laws and regulations.

I am suggesting a tightening of the law.

Really? Which law?

So what do you think of the suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison?

Well first, what crimes have been committed and by whom?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ JP:

That's one of the risks you take whenever you communicate with others on a more than superficial level. Our memory contravenes by referencing similarities; underlying interconnections may exist of which we are unaware until they hurtle into us at full speed. For example, I find myself stepping around particular words or images with certain people necessitating extremely creative speech at times because I KNOW how they may affected and that it might set them back for a few days. As I just did on the phone an hour ago. Or I see a film with a bombing and feel repercussions because I have a friend who lost a family member long ago to a bombing - who had to identify the widely scattered remains- and I've witnessed her distress whenever present day wartime or other bombings occur in the news so I react as if by proxy.

So what can you do to ameliorate unwanted recall? Perhaps you can turn it into something else- use your current energies in consciousness working at OTHER materials or transforming the outcome into art or fiction. It's very hard to do but possible. Talking about it is always a way of diffusing these bombs because other people have entirely different artillery of their own. And you ARE a poet.

I can't say that this doesn't take a toll on my emotions but for the most part, I'm reliably stable.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

may AFFECT THEM.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

I am suggesting a tightening of the law. So a drug company found guilty of drug testing/safety/promotion related crime cannot get away with it by simply paying a fine (even if the fine is a trillion dollars). They must name the most senior person aware of the violation and offer him for sentencing.

I personally have no issue with people who work for corporations being held legally liable for the illegal acts they perform on behalf of the company. The devil, as they say, is in the details. The wording above seems to suggest sending one person to jail to punish the group - regardless of that person's actual culpability in the crime. All they had to do was "be aware". I immediately see two issues with that proposal.
1. The most senior person aware may not have been culpable. Say the head of R&D finds that some people in marketing is bribing doctors. Does the head of R&D get sacrificed, despite her efforts to stop the practice?
2. A truly unethical company would budget for this and have designated scapegoats among their senior dead wood.

If the laws can be updated to punish the people actually culpable, I have no issue.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor: "http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma"

None of those have anything to do with vaccines.

Again what comes have been committed by the vaccine divisions of pharmaceutical companies? How are they worse than Wakefield's fraudulent deeds, and the Geiers chemical castration treatment, Boyd Haley selling an industrial chelator as a supplement and those who promote MMS, a bleach people are giving children in enemas?

You cannot claim unnamed persons need to go to jail for unnamed deeds, yet let the scams perpetrated on desperate be ignored.

@Denice:

I don't know if the recall is entirely unwanted; I've actually gone through a shift of late where the recall actually has emotional content, which doesn't strike me as an entirely bad thing. That is to say, I've always had a fabulous, almost freakish memory for details - to the point where people used to tease me about being a spy - but the facts and details were generally unconnected to any sort of affect.

There's also the fact that I've just got more time on my hands than I ever have before, which is a weird feeling. Even if I may seem to be slightly unraveling, I don't know if that's entire a bad thing either. For most of my life I've been working very hard to keep it together, which has been necessary but also required a certain amount of denial and/or repression on my part. Actually, I'm reminded of a friend, somewhat older than me, who I knew from back at the Zen Center in Portland. Similar history, cruddy family stuff, also moved out at 16, etc. Back about five years ago, she was in her late twenties and finally in a more-or-less stable position, and things sort of started to come apart in a certain way. She ended up quitting her job and went to Columbia to study physics, and is now applying to PhD programs, I think.

Perhaps you can turn it into something else- use your current energies in consciousness working at OTHER materials or transforming the outcome into art or fiction. It’s very hard to do but possible.

Yeah, I've finally been getting back into non-academic writing after an uncomfortably long hiatus. A year ago or so, my Bosnian BFF and I were talking on the balcony at 5 in the morning, as was our wont in that era - the relationship can be a bit Sid and Nancy at times, to be honest - and he said to me, "Seriously, you've gotta write this stuff down." So there's that.

I gotta say, the spring-like weather - though one never knows how long it will stick around - is providing quite a bit of psychic relief at the moment.

Do tell us who is guilty and of what crime with real specifics. Just don’t mention this one, which is just silly.

Actually, Krahling & Wlochowski would be one good place for Victor to start sorting out his now-shrieking thought-blob into something vaguely connected to the actual world.

May be you are one of the pharma executives that I was referring to in #334.

Is everyone who disagrees with you being paid to do so?

the relationship can be a bit Sid and Nancy at times, to be honest

"Mutually assured self-destruction" is a phrase that just occurred to me.

May be you are one of the pharma executives that I was referring to in #334.

Yay Chris got a promotion!! Drinks and monkey kidney hors-d'oeuvres at our weekly shill roundtable are on Chris.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

So what do you think of the suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison?

If Vijay was right back at #157, vaccination laws are a huge drug-company conspiracy to cover up the fact that vaccines shorten life-spans:

The primary reason the vaccine companies want to take away all vax exemptions is so that no unvaccinated or undervaccinated kids remain around for comparison with fully vaccinated kids.
Because the worst thing for them is a future study which shows that unvaccinated or undervaccinated kids remain healthier and live longer on average than fully vaccinated kids.

If they're that powerful, I'm sure the executives can conceal any evidence of how much they know

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Science Mom: "Yay Chris got a promotion!! Drinks and monkey kidney hors-d’oeuvres at our weekly shill roundtable are on Chris."

Yeah, sure I got a raise that multiplied my income several times. But even multiply zero with googol comes out to zero dollars.

I still want to know what crimes were committed by those who work with vaccines. Also why folks like the Geiers, Haley, Rashid Buttar, Tenpenny and others like Roy Kerry who actually strapped a kid to a table and pushed drugs into his little body until his heart stopped are still considered "heroes" to the antivaccine folks.

@MOB #348

1. If a crime is committed by an employee X in marketing, the R&D folks should not have to worry about it. Only Mr. X and the people in the chain of command above X would be potentially liable.

2.Re scapegoating: If a guy is innocent, and does not want to be punished for the misdeeds of others, all he has to do is to notify his boss about any potentially criminal activity in his group through emails. Then his boss will be the one going to prison if he does not act to stop the illegal activity.

Matt: "But neither does the correct answer necessarily lie in whatever the “consensus” happens to be at any given moment. That’s appeal to the majority."

An excellent point. As you may know, there is a substantial, but relatively small element in the alt med community which holds that the germ theory of disease is wrong, that Pasteur recanted it on his deathbed and that infectious diseases are not caused by pathogens, but always result from some defect in the body (there are lots of potions, supplements and cleanses to remedy these defects).

Now the extreme alternate position is that there's excellent evidence including clinical data to show that pathogens do indeed infect healthy people and that antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agents are often necessary to treat and cure infections. But following your logic, agencies that make recommendations for antibiotic use are heavily swayed by private industries that stand to make a boatload of money from antibiotic sales.

So you should give strong consideration, the next time you are diagnosed with, say, pneumonia or sepsis, casting a highly skeptical eye on the physician(s) who prescribe antibiotics or other measures, and look for a middle ground between these self-interested people and germ theory deniers.

How about an alternate antibiotic schedule? You could take half the recommended dose on alternate days, or maybe skip the antibiotics entirely until you see whether an alternative remedy is working.

Let us know how that turns out.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Victor: "You are forgetting that the doctors work for the patients and not the other way around. Businesses always put up with the whims of their customers even when they seem irrational."

You don't understand what the medical system is, do you? People go to doctors because the doctors possess knowledge they don't have. Doctors are consultants, not waitresses or baristas who have to fill orders no matter how nonsensical it may seem. In fact, a doctor sometimes has to go against the patient's wishes or suggest a course of action that a patient may not like. For instance, say a patient comes in and wants their hand removed. The hand works perfectly well, but the patient doesn't like it. In your scenario, the doctor would have to sign the patient up for surgery. In the real world, the doctor would lose their job if they did that.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

If a guy is innocent, and does not want to be punished for the misdeeds of others, all he has to do is to notify his boss about any potentially criminal activity in his group through emails. Then his boss will be the one going to prison if he does not act to stop the illegal activity.

To go to full on corporate intrigue/conspiracy mode: If I, as that person's boss, had deliberately set that person up as scapegoat, I would ensure I never read those messages and that they were accidentally deleted. Likewise, I'd ensure that the person I was trying to protect sent said messages to my chosen scapegoat at every opportunity - preferably in a way that would be ignored.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

2.Re scapegoating: If a guy is innocent, and does not want to be punished for the misdeeds of others, all he has to do is to notify his boss about any potentially criminal activity in his group through emails. Then his boss will be the one going to prison if he does not act to stop the illegal activity.

Uh-huh.

Look, Victor, quit blowing smoke out of your ass and start demonstrating that you have anything vaguely resembling a grip on current law.

@ PGP:

That's a hilarious image: doctor-barista.**
Perhaps the woo-entranced carp about doctors' elitism so much because the latter DON'T cater to their every whim.

** and I'll leave the diverse medicinal uses of coffee aside

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@ JP:

I wonder if various methods ( meditation et al) of emptying the mind might be replaced effectively with ways of filling the mind instead with better stuffing. Might be easier to manage.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@lilady

You’ve got your colossal nerve to presume to give me advice about how I comment

Why don’t you provide some suggestions about posting comments which are evidence-based/science-based, with some proof, that do not *antagonize anti-vaxxers, Matt?

*blink*

Here is another question: Mississippi and West Virginia have banned non-medical exemptions for nearly 40 years. What tangible health benefits have they reaped (compared to other 48 states) in terms of, say, infant mortality, life expectancy, physical fitness, health care cost, lost days from work (due to sickness), etc.?

Here is another question

Howsabout you deal with your first incoherent position rather than trying to escape to another dopily ill-posed one?

How about an alternate antibiotic schedule? You could take half the recommended dose on alternate days,

Note to bystanders in case there is any doubt: taking small doses of antibiotics is a good way to promote the happenstance of more antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

So what do you think of the suggestion that pharma executives who are guilty of criminal wrongdoing (in relation to drug testing, promotion, etc.) MUST go to prison?

You imagine that pharma companies cannot be trusted at all, yet you propose that they can be trusted on who they want to throw under the bus when someone does something deemed bad. Uh huh.
OTOH, we know of a famous vaccine developer/researcher who committed blatant fraud against his competition, also accepting Legal Aid funds in the process. Are you suggesting that Wakefield s[pend time in the pokey?

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Orac

Funny how selective Matt seems to be about his dislike of “making laws to enforce the scientific consensus.” It seems to be just about vaccines.

Point taken. I must concede that the argument doesn't hold up in light of those other examples. But no- it isn't just about vaccines.

I don't like some of those other laws you mentioned, either. I will have to reflect more deeply on why they irk me so much. It's not that I disagree with the idea itself- for example I wear my seat belt when I drive. But it irks me that "somebody, somewhere" is watching me to make sure I am wearing my seat belt, and will punish me if I don't.

@Bill
Wakefield is not that important to me. He is not making and testing MY vaccines.

Even if the pharma companies throw a few scapegoats under the bus, it would eventually lead to a less corrupt system. Employees will become smart enough to avoid becoming scapegoats. They may document/record critical conversations with their bosses to protect themselves, or have witnesses (or do whatever works). The current system has no accountability for criminal actions that threaten the health of tens of thousands.

Plenty of people don't trust the drug companies today (including me). And as someone said earlier, you cannot earn trust through bullying, mocking, trivializing, patronizing, and so on. You cannot even earn trust by presenting tons of statistics and scientific evidence. Building trust is a slow process and it requires doing things that seem trustworthy to others.

Howsabout you deal with your first incoherent position rather than trying to escape to another dopily ill-posed one?

Indeed, I would love to see people do that. I am tired of this bahviour; make a statement, people criticize it, and rather than dealing with that, just move on to another point.

@Dangerous Bacon

How about an alternate antibiotic schedule? You could take half the recommended dose on alternate days, or maybe skip the antibiotics entirely until you see whether an alternative remedy is working.

If I have a life-threatening bacterial infection- I will take the antibiotics as prescribed.

However, if for some reason I didn't... I don't think I should be fined or jailed for endangering public health, or have my child taken away for exposing them to dangerous pathogens.

@Matt #370
The seat belt may be annoying, but not many people believe that wearing seat belt is a significant risk to their health or safety.

The ban on lead in gasoline applies to industry, not to individuals.

Most regulations affecting individuals tend to be about prohibiting something: Can't smoke here, can't drink till you are 21, can't build house bigger than this, can't sell this or that. I can't think of any regulation where individuals are required to do something in order to live a normal life, and which even a a small percentage of people think may be risky to their safety or health.

Victor: "Here is another question"

How about you answering our questions on what specific malfeasance has been committed by any employee connected the development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of vaccines?

Plus compare that to the real crimes committed by those who prey on parents of disabled children. What punishment should Dr. Usman after her treating disabled children with unproven and unnecessary methods. By the way, she is the one who ordered Dr. Kerry to perform the treatment that killed a kid.

@Chris #375

I am the customer. I get to ask more questions. You get to answer more.

Why? Because in the best case, you are trying to "sell" me vaccines. In the worst case, you are trying to impose your will on me.

In either case, I get to ask more questions. You can either give me persuasive answers, or try to coerce me. It looks like most pro-vax people on this blog prefer the method of coercion.

I am tired of this bahviour; make a statement, people criticize it, and rather than dealing with that, just move on to another point.

I am tired of being asked questions by one party, and then being jumped on by a third-party when attempting to answer the question.

Or in at least one recent case... being asked a question by one party, and then being jumped on by the SAME party when attempting to answer the question.

Wakefield is not that important to me. He is not making and testing MY vaccines.

So you're only interested in revenge. If it doen't visably affect you, it's not a matter of concern.

Even if the pharma companies throw a few scapegoats under the bus, it would eventually lead to a less corrupt system. Employees will become smart enough to avoid becoming scapegoats. They may document/record critical conversations with their bosses to protect themselves, or have witnesses (or do whatever works). The current system has no accountability for criminal actions that threaten the health of tens of thousands.

Your proposal does not provide for any judicial determination: the company nominates a culprit, who is then jailed. Without the judicial process, you would have the company (and only the company) evaluate the evidence, should they wish to do so. Sounds like a wonderful situaution, for the most adept at corporate politics anyway.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Denice:

I wonder if various methods ( meditation et al) of emptying the mind might be replaced effectively with ways of filling the mind instead with better stuffing. Might be easier to manage.

Actually, it's a common misconception that meditation means "emptying the mind," at least in regards to zazen. In fact, I was drifting away from the practice over the past couple years, due to being busy and also not in the best place mentally, sort of.

The practice is actually to let whatever comes up come up, without clinging to it or running away from it, which I think is actually psychologically useful. Some people do fall into trying to suppress thought or emotion, which is actually not recommended - it's like trying to climb out of one's humanity, which is impossible, really. In any case, since coming back to a more earnest practice over the past month or so, I have found it to be helpful in a certain way.

^ There's also a very nice Zen Temple here in town, which I was avoiding because of my own hangups about not being a good Buddhist - I particular suck at keeping the 5th precept, for instance, which was particularly apparent during a certain recent era - but that's a reflection of my own f*cked-up-edness, not the community.

@Bill

The company does not merely nominate a scapegoat. The company also allows FDA, DOJ, etc. to investigate individual culpability. It allows access to internal documents and emails. It cannot stonewall.

The judicial process determines the ultimate culprit. But if the FDA determines that there was a criminal violation, they would be required to nail down at least one employee (the senior-most possible). They cannot merely fine the company.

^ particularly, that is. There's also the messed up notion in my head that having emotional crises is something shameful that should be hidden away.

But if the FDA determines that there was a criminal violation, they would be required to nail down at least one employee (the senior-most possible).

At least now you've made it irrefutably clear that you have no fυcking idea how federal criminal prosecutions work.

@Narad #383

Anger is also not very effective at building trust.

@ JP:

I'm somewhat familiar with that from reading, training for working with people ( relaxation techniques etc) Some of the mindfulness ideas may be related.
My own approach is rather to actively *build* whatever one builds in the mind's eye/ ear. More related to direction via inner speech, self-talk, rehearsal, preparation. Writing.
Rather than allowing a stream, directing a stream.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Denice:

Yeah, "mindfulness" comes straight out of Buddhist practice. I've never been one for guided or directed meditations, although some schools of Buddhism engage in them - Tibetan tong-lan, etc. But I have what basically amounts to a religious faith in zazen/shikantaza practice - in some cases, it can actually make thing worse for some people in the short term, which is why I actually feel sort of ambivalent about therapists who haven't been doing the practice for decades recommending it to patients. Having an experienced teacher is really important at certain stages.

The company does not merely nominate a scapegoat. The company also allows FDA, DOJ, etc. to investigate individual culpability.

So you're changing your proposal again. Why not change it some more? I suspect that if you were to change it enough to pass constitutional muster, it will become indistinguishable from the current process.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Anger is also not very effective at building trust.

I'm not "angry," Victor, I'm pointing out a simple fact.

I will offer a protip, though: Tediously evading the implicit observation that you're full of shіt isn't a great trust-builder, either. Now, perhaps you could go Occupy!1!! your Propublica link instead of treating it like a magic talisman, and get back with the specific causes of action, the specific outcomes, what you would specifically disallow among those, what you augur the effects would be, and how you come to that conclusion.

I suspect that if you were to change it enough to pass constitutional muster, it will become indistinguishable from the current process.

What, you weren't aware that it's, liek, a totes nono to issue subpenes and convene grand juries?

Victor: "Why? Because in the best case, you are trying to “sell” me vaccines. In the worst case, you are trying to impose your will on me. "

Your my customer?

Oh, really? Point out the comment where I tried to sell you any vaccine.

You made a claim, and I am trying to get to prove that claim. You have not clarified what crimes have been made by any vaccine division employee of a pharmaceutical company. You have also not condemned any of the actions made by the Geiers, Roy Kerry, Boyd Haley, Wakefield and the other vultures who prey on parents of disabled kids.

Come on, tell us... do you support selling worthless and sometimes harmful stuff to be used on disabled kids?

To make an analogy, an inexperienced therapist recommending mindfulness meditation to a patient is kind of like telling them, "Hey, here's 500 mics of LSD, go home and take it and tell me how it went when we meet next week." Hyperbolic, sure, and I do think that meditation practice can do a lot of people a lot of good, but it's not without its pitfalls, either.

^That was @Denice.

By the way, Victor, you are not my customer. I sell nothing, I am just a parent who has been a target of a particular kind of critter who wants to make money off my kid's disability. I left a support forum because one of the "mothers" was actually an employee of Bradstreet trying to get more customers.

I left the week before one of their kind executed a little boy just because he had autism.

In the worst case, you are trying to impose your will on me.

It's a little-known fact that Wille zur Macht and Thelema were actually the underpinnings of common law before someone like Julie Christie birthed of The Age Of Impurity.

@ JP:

I don't recommend any of that - it's more about talking and planning- looking at situations from a different perspective. I've used minor suggestions about breathing for people experiencing stressful periods accompanied with verbal instructions ..

Actually, they were teaching various methods of internal control 30 years ago when I studied and trained. So not a spiritual method but a way of self-control .

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Yeah, "spiritual method" and "way of self-control" are pretty different things. I just feel a little bit weird, to be honest, about the way that Buddhist meditation has been taken out of its 2500-year-old context and community in order to use it as a therapeutic modality. I mean, there are reasons why these communities and teachers exist.

That said, I do think there's a lot of value in what has been termed "mindfulness" meditation - I just wish that there was more recognition, within the psychotherapeutic community, that's it's not a panacea, and it's not a trivial thing.

I am tired of being asked questions by one party, and then being jumped on by a third-party when attempting to answer the question.

Matt, this is a more-or-less public forum (at Orac's discretion). Thus, the appropriate response to your complaint would seem to be Harry Truman's "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

If you want private conversations, you need to set them up elsewhere.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

the way that Buddhist meditation has been taken out of its 2500-year-old context

I'm not so sure that those two noun phrases connect easily.

DW: "Perhaps the woo-entranced carp about doctors’ elitism so much because the latter DON’T cater to their every whim."

That pretty much explains the success Dr. Jay and Dr. Sears have had in the anti-vax movement- they do cater to their patient's every whim.

JP: "There’s also the messed up notion in my head that having emotional crises is something shameful that should be hidden away."

Yup, been there. That's the biggest reason why I'm not a fan of feelings.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Matt
"If I have a life-threatening bacterial infection- I will take the antibiotics as prescribed.

However, if for some reason I didn’t… I don’t think I should be fined or jailed for endangering public health, or have my child taken away for exposing them to dangerous pathogens"

In the interest of exploring your legal philosophy, should the state take your children if exposing them to the infection risks their life? Let's say that you don't believe HIV causes AIDS or that your spiritual beliefs will clear your Ebola. Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else?

By Niche Geek (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Chris

If you support mandatory vaccination and I don't, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me.

If you support vaccination choice, then I have nothing to discuss with you. I apologize and take back all my comments/questions directed at you.

^ For example, the whole Mahakashyapa thing with the flower was invented out of whole cloth as a matter of Ch'an political jockeying.

Those people opposed to vaccines for their own children are not anti-science. In fact we have yet to see the science that confirms vaccines to be safe or to be effective. Rather is the pro vaccine cabal that are the loonies in this situation because they can't see the forest for the trees. You think we are not going to go down without a fight to let anyone rape our children with toxin containing syringes. We are doing what is best for our children. You might consider doing the same for your instead of believing every thing today's scientist tell you is the truth and seek out the truth for yourselves.

By Cynthia Maurer (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

I’m not so sure that those two noun phrases connect easily.

Yeah, okay, I was being very general. There are a lot of different kinds of "meditation," and many different philosophical traditions within Buddhism. But there are certain "freak-outs" that can certainly occur even within the context of what's lately been termed, in a secular sense "mindfulness meditation." If you're really unlucky, for instance, and you don't have anybody around to set you straight, you might become convinced that you're the latest Incarnation of God, or whatever, and become a millionaire guru or something. These things do happen.

For example, the whole Mahakashyapa thing with the flower was invented out of whole cloth as a matter of Ch’an political jockeying.

Yeah, for sure.

Or gassing a Tokyo subway or something, say. I'm fairly sure that Asahara probably had some sort of "awakening" experience, but without any sort of proper context within which to deal with it. Like somebody smacking you upside the head and telling you you're not that freaking special, for instance.

If you support mandatory vaccination and I don’t, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me.

Yes, disagreeing with Victor is to strip him of his rights.

Victor, on the other hand, has no responsibility whatever, for anything, such as lifting a finger to try to lend sense to what he was pretending was his core proposition, now that it's become incovenient.

Victor: "If you support mandatory vaccination and I don’t, then you are (at least indirectly) trying to impose your will on me"

Where did I say that? It is okay dokay if you don't vaccinated your kids. Just make sure you don't whine when they have to stay home during an outbreak. If you are going to get an exception, then follow the rules.

Also thank your responsible neighbors who vaccinate their families, because they are protecting your kids by maintaining community immunity. Except, as we have seen recently, that did not work for several American and Canadian families who caught measles.

I want you to provide the evidence of the crimes of employees of the vaccine divisions of pharmaceutical companies.

Also I want to know why the misdeeds against disabled of Usman, Bradstreet, Buttar, the Geiers, Wakefield, and others are not given the same scrutiny.

Stop changing the subject and answer the questions.

Need better wording:

Also I want to know why the misdeeds against the disabled by Usman, Bradstreet, Buttar, the Geiers, Wakefield, and others are not given the same scrutiny. Why is it okay to torture autistic kids?

Like somebody smacking you upside the head and telling you you’re not that freaking special, for instance.

IIRC, this sort of behavior finds its ground in the Pai-chang/wild fox story, which didn't make its way into the Wu-men kuan without emendation.

@Niche Geek

IIRC, this sort of behavior finds its ground in the Pai-chang/wild fox story, which didn’t make its way into the Wu-men kuan without emendation.

Yeah, it's been around for a while.

^ I think my own personal issue with that story has basically amounted to, "Okay, but why do things still suck?" (In various ways.) Well, because that's how it is, and there's no running away from it, I guess.

[whoops, sorry]

@Niche Geek

In the interest of exploring your legal philosophy, should the state take your children if exposing them to the infection risks their life? Let’s say that you don’t believe HIV causes AIDS or that your spiritual beliefs will clear your Ebola. Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else?

In the interest of exploring my philosophy... being ALIVE exposes one to all manner of risks, and the only [apparent] certainty is that we are all going to die one way or another.

I don't believe it is the state's place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

I don't believe I own my [future] children. I believe I am their caretaker, and discharging that duty will surely come with all manner of ethical choices- none of which I believe the state has any business making on my behalf.

What if I allow my kid to play hockey, and they take a puck to the face in a freak accident and die? What if I allow my kid to subsist on cheetoes and happy meals, and they become obese and get diabetes and have their leg amputated?

What if...? What if...? What if...? Where does it end?

Heck- why not sterilize people with a high probability of passing on a fatal genetic disorder to their children? Or why not charge somebody who DOES pass along a fatal genetic disorder to their child with murder?

Why not force everybody to undergo daily cancer screenings under the guise of "preventive care" and then charge those who refuse treatments with crimes?

Why not form a Tooth Brushing Brigade to go up and down the streets every morning and night to issue citations to naughty citizens who don't follow their dentist's advice?

I know. I know... slippery slope fallacy. I get it. But sometimes you just don't know you're on the slope until it's too late.

Philosophically speaking- I want to know what is the principle upon where we draw a line. When do we say "enough" to the government "protecting us from ourselves."

I don't purport to have the answer. I don't know that there is an answer.

But what concerns me is that there appear to be a whole LOT* of people around that seem to have no problem willy-nilly banning "this" and mandating "that" all for the "greater good." (*no I don't have a citation for that.)

It concerns me. And I think you should be concerned too.

I don’t believe it is the state’s place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

What does this have to do with mandating vaccination for school attendance, which is very well settled law?

^ As is civil liability for negligent transmission of infectious disease.

^^

What if I allow my kid to subsist on cheetoes and happy meals, and they become obese and get diabetes and have their leg amputated?

I suppose the child could sue you. Problem?

@Narad

It doesn't have anything to do with mandatory vaccination directly. I was asked to comment on my philosophy.

To your other points... yes if somebody feels they can make a case that an unvaccinated child negligently transmitted measles to their own child, thus resulting in harm, then maybe the parent can be found liable. Sue the parents.

Problem? No problem. I have -no- problem with that. Actually, I think that's a really great idea. Maybe people should try that.

Matt, if you can't see the difference between medical decisions that endanger other people—such as refusing vaccines—and those that don't —like all your other examples—I don't think you're ready for philosophy. Better retake kindergarten.

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Matt, you still haven't answered the question about whether the state should allow the sale of lead paint and lead soldiers (among other toys.) Is that a case of "the state swooping in" to prevent children from harm? If it is, is that a bad thing?

Re: seat belts: I used to quite a bit more "libertarian" in my thinking on certain issues. This was partly due to my anarchism (which, in certain ways, I have to admit, I still hold to in my heart of hearts) and partly due to a certain frontier mentality I picked up from my relatives growing up.

I remember, though, a conversation I had with a friend when I was in college. I was sort of arguing the philosophical position that the state shouldn't be dictating safety measures to adults - for kids, okay, but not adults. She made a good point, though:

"Well, your decisions about these things don't affect only you. What about the onlookers who get to witness you flying through your* windshield? What if you fly into somebody else? What about the EMTS who'll have to pry your bloody corpse off of the freeway and deal with that experience, which will only add to the day-to-day trauma they experience? What about your friends and family who care about you?"

*I've never owned a car or had a driver's license, so this conversation was largely hypothetical. I am often enough a passenger in other people's cars, though, I suppose, so the point still stands.

Matt: "It doesn’t have anything to do with mandatory vaccination directly. I was asked to comment on my philosophy."

What is your philosophy about public health in general? Does it include being required to have your septic system inspected and then maintained? Do you think restaurants are over regulated?

Or does your philosophy on public health only extend to vaccines?

@Chris

My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable.

^ But people shouldn't be held liable for what "might" have occurred, or what "could" occur, or any sort of "what if."

If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

And so on.

^ But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

And so on.

Comprehensive bullshit. You reveal yourself as a complete sociopath.

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

Okay, but should there be laws in place to prevent these unfortunate things from happening?

I mean, should we just let buffets keep chicken salad out all day at any ol' temperature, and rely on people suing them for damages if they get food poisoning and maybe, uh, die from it?

Incidentally, I've had a pretty severe case of food poisoning before that I think was because of a deli sandwich I got from a convenience store. (Grad school, what can I say?) The thing is, I wasn't sure that's where it came from, so it would have been pretty hard to sue 7-11. It was an awfully miserable weekend, though, and happened to come right during paper-writing time, so missing that weekend of writing was a pretty major deal. (I probably should have gone to the doctor about it, but I didn't, because I'm sort of that way.)

Niche Geek: “Are you a caregiver who can be delinquent, an owner who can do what he wills or something else? “

In the US, letting children die for your spiritual beliefs is legal in many states.

Cynthia Maurer: Those people opposed to vaccines for their own children are not anti-science. In fact we have yet to see the science that confirms vaccines to be safe or to be effective. Rather is the pro vaccine cabal that are the loonies in this situation because they can’t see the forest for the trees. You think we are not going to go down without a fight to let anyone rape our children with toxin containing syringes.

1. You people are anti-science. Vaccines have been studied to death, you just stick your fingers in your ears and howl.
2. Comparing vaccines to rape. Really, lady, get some class. Or better yet, go back to Age of Autism with the rest of the scum-sucking amoebas.
3. I hope you get diptheria.

Chris: “Why is it okay to torture autistic kids?”

Short version is that to most anti-vaxxers, autistic kids don't make it into the category of human. Neither do depressed kids, kids with ADD, kids with cancer, or, in short, kids with flaws of any sort.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

JP: This is getting eerie. Something like that happened to me.Only, thankfully, it was one evening, and the only lasting damage was a blood spot in my eye. I puked so hard I burst a blood vessel.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then *plonk*.

FTFY.

@PGP:

Yeah, it was only maybe a whole 24 hours with my head in the toilet for me. The next day or two, though, I was having a pretty hard time negotiating legs, and I was pretty much lying in bed trying to keep down water and saltines. I caught up on a bunch of episodes of Radiolab, though, to my memory.

If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

The legal system is limited in what it can do by way of repairing damages. If it's monetary, you could be ordered to pay, and the person you injured could try to collect. The me! ME! ME! attitude that comes through your writings is a strong hint that collecting monetary damages from you would be a nontrivial task.
But no amount of monetary compensation is enough to make up for the three weeks o downtime from the measles your VPD vector is distributing, much less any permanent damage—or death—your antisocial behavior caused. Yes, your willful failure to vaccinate your kid is definitely antisocial.
An ounce of prevention, as trhe saying goes, is worth a pound of cure; but only when cure is possible. VPDs are not always curable.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@PGP:

I have a certain feeling we are very much alike, in certain ways, actually, although I think we have taken very different roads in reaction to things.

^ But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

If my unvaccinated kid harms your vaccinated kid, then I should be held liable. But not until then.

If a restaurant serves up some funky chicken and people get sick, they should be held liable. But not until then.

If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

And so on.

Pure Libberish.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

@PGP:

To be somewhat more precise, here's more or less how I think our similar paths may have diverged.

We were both weird kids, weird "girls" growing up, yeah? Both smart, etc. We both got along better with guys than with gals, etc.

But something happened when I was 15 or so. It was sort of like an emotional explosion, I guess: a whole bunch of stuff I hadn't been even able to deal with just blew up in my face, and I basically collapsed.

To be absolutely honest, the main thing that occurred to me wasn't "Those bastards, they really f*cked me up!" (Although that though did run through my mind more than once.) The main thing that hit me was: "Man, this really hurts. This sucks. This is like, the worst thing ever..." And then: "Man, all those people who go around getting in fights, and drinking, and doing drugs, and f*cking other people up? I bet this is why. Because it all just hurts so much. And that sucks. Man, I sure wish people didn't have to hurt like this."

And it's after that that I started to have what one might term "spiritual" experiences, for what it's worth. Because what it really comes down to is: None of us really knows what this whole thing is about, and nobody knows why it has to hurt so much. But d*mnit, we can at least try to be kind to each other, can't we? Because we're all there really is in this world to help each other get through this.

"But no amount of monetary compensation is enough to make up for the three weeks o downtime from the measles your VPD vector is distributing, much less any permanent damage—or death—your antisocial behavior caused."

I think a bigger antisocial behavior may be driving cars on roads used by pedestrians.
Thousand of peds are killed or maimed every year. It is easy to prevent it too. Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

Matt: "My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable."

So if your child gets measles and infects a child under age one year who later dies of SSPE, you will accept full responsibility. You will gladly accept that as your fault. Right?

Victor, you have not yet answered about the torturing of autistic children by those who chemically castrate them and shove bleach (MMS) up their bums. Why is that?

JP: We were both weird kids, weird “girls” growing up, yeah? Both smart, etc. We both got along better with guys than with gals, etc.

That's true. Though I got the memo that girls don't hang with guys outside of school pretty young. It helped that I ended up in a private school where I was often placed in classes with older kids. And my class was almost all boys, which, thankfully, eliminated much gossiping. Most of my friends are now female, which is less me changing than me being unwilling to navigate the minefield of being friends with dudes, which can get very unfortunately complicated very quickly.
As for emotional stuff, I tend to have a series of small crisises rather than big huge crashes. As far as spiritual things, the only thing I know is that I'm going to see a black rail before I die, if I have to crawl to the marsh. I'm far too high-strung and fidgety for meditation, and any other religion requires giving up too much.

Hey, Matt, I have a question- do you want a kid or a perfect kid? Are you planning to take them to a doctor if they break a bone? Get cancer? Get bit by a dog? And how miserable do you plan to make your child's life if they have ADD or autism?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

JP: Oof, the food poisoning sounds rough. Makes sense that you'd be kinda shaky and logy after that. Most of my experiences with food poisoning tended to be nasty but over quickly. I think the worst one I had was on a cruise with my grandparents- couldn't keep anything down at all, and I put my head down around 4, intending to get in a quick nap before dinner. I woke up at seven the next day, feeling fine, but my grandparents almost worried themselves sick.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

I see the "Oh you can just sue" argument come up all the time, in many different contexts, and it just seems so hopelessly naive.

Even with the lower standard of evidence in civil cases, it is going to be difficult to show responsibility for many things. Think you have food poisoning? It might be from that restaurant you ate at the day before, maybe, and we often attribute to that, but since it can take days for food poisoning to present itself, it might have been that egg salad sandwich you made for lunch. Unless there was a mass poisoning, it is going to be rather hard to find evidence.

It is also very classist. Lawsuits require resources, if you are poor, you are kind of screwed. Maybe you can find someone who will work on a contingency basis but maybe not. And as others have mentioned, suing someone might result in you getting some money, if you are lucky enough to sue someone with assets, but it is hardly compensation in many cases.

I think a bigger antisocial behavior may be driving cars on roads used by pedestrians.
Thousand of peds are killed or maimed every year. It is easy to prevent it too. Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

Most of the roads in this country have rules of social conduct, promulgated and maybe enforced by the owners of the roads. These rules are part of the conditions for permission to use the roads. These rules, such as speed limits and rights of way, set forth the rights and responsibilities of the people allowed to use the roads, whether pedestrian or automobile or carriage drivers.
The (often unwritten) contract between road owner and user usually has a clause that says rather than immediate cancellation of the contract by which you may use this road, the owner may impose monetary fines or incareration as penalties for violation of the conditions of use.
In general, pedestrians have their own pavements, called sidewalks in the US. Automobiles are, by the common rules, required to avoid driving on them. Yes, to drive on a sidewalk would be antisocial behavior, even when it's not a contract violation. (YMMV in other jurisdictions.)

By Bill Price (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then.

So, Matt, if one were to dump a pile of human feces onto your lawn but nobody got sick, 'sall good?

@ Viktor

Just ban car-driving on roads used by pedestrians.

False analogy.
Drivers who maim or kill a pedestrian are held accountable for it. Depending on the place, the case and the prosecutor, it may even be qualified as manslaughter, with related jail time.
In short, there are already laws or rules in place to account for excessive behavior on roads.
Why is it so hard to have rules about vaccination?

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

You cannot even earn trust by presenting tons of statistics and scientific evidence. Building trust is a slow process and it requires doing things that seem trustworthy to others.

That's because you don't know science. Science is a method where we eliminate a truckload of hypothesis including the one you (or I) prefer in order to have the best hypothesis possible. That's it.

As for you, you have a bias that other have to overcome, i.e. being trustworthy but how can we determine that we got your trust? Post your criteria and definitely don't deviate from them; or at least, tell us so. The onus is on you. Period.

Alain

I am the customer. I get to ask more questions. You get to answer more.

Why? Because in the best case, you are trying to “sell” me vaccines. In the worst case, you are trying to impose your will on me.

Customer? Sell? Are you doing you best to be an id10t or does it come naturally? Public health workers (which I assume to be all of us working in SBM) do want to build sustainable development of the human race and that require a metric ton of work. Same for most scientists working in pharma companies but will you have the f*cking gall to say that all of them (and me) should be condemned because of a few bad apples? If so, you are more id10t that I have thought off.

Alain

Matt: "If my septic system leaks into your yard and my feces infiltrate your garden, causing you to fall ill, I should be held liable. But not until then."

Is your last name Sisley? Because we have one in our city, and he has totally blighted a neighborhood:
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/city-pocket-park-may-…

Matt, you are quite welcome to live as you see fit. Just don't be anywhere near other people. I hear Somalia has the kind of government you would like, and it has (or had) nice beaches.

Chris @ 447:

Cripes! I think my (then) girlfriend lived right next door to that place in 1979-80. It was already a mess then.

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Matt:

But people shouldn’t be held liable for what “might” have occurred, or what “could” occur, or any sort of “what if.”

Matt, you are talking utter horse puckey.
If a person is caught driving drunk, that person is arrested, even if he or she hasn't caused an accident. If a building is not built to code, the authorities can get a demolition order, even before the building collapses and kills someone. The law entitles the authorities to take measures to prevent tragedies, and rightly so. We've had libertarians commenting here before, and we're most unimpressed with your (and their) "I'm fine Jack, toughies for you" attitude.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

My legal philosophy is this: If harm is shown to have occurred, then the person(s) responsible for causing the harm should be held liable

Victor, is there a rational reason your focusing on assigning legal liability after that fac rather than preventing harm from occurring in the first place?

Because it seems to me to make a whole lot more sense to require documentation that workers have been trained in safe food handling techniques and to require business pass routine inspections of the kitchens where food is prepared to prevent the resutarant from serving that funky chicken in the first place, than to simply encourage anyone who gets food poisoning to sue.

Ooops-might have confused Matt and Victor...

@ JP:
@ PGP:

I'd glad to see you guys meet- I also discerned that you may have experiences in common.

I was quite fortunate myself because I come from a rather untraditional, far-flung, business-oriented, artistic, liberal-progressive family so my uniqueness was encouraged. There was some money as well- which didn't hurt.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

@PGP

If enough parents vaccinate in a ped’s practice, they should have a party thrown for them, and the anti-vaxxers parents get to hear about the perks.

This is actually not a bad idea. I'm reminded of stopped clocks.

The distrust about vaccination has nothing to do with trusting/distrusting a pediatrician. It has to do with distrust in the government, in CDC, in pharma companies, and so on. They are the ones who have to repair the distrust.

Yeah, the antivaxxers I know in real life mistrust the medical system as a whole and aren't specific about the individual parts.

By justthestats (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

If you have better ideas for sales tactics [than emulating antivaccine cranks], I’m all ears. But that’s just a necessary stopgap. The real value is in fixing the trust problem.

Before I forgot, I had been meaning to say that this strikes me as lying with physicians (as, e.g., here, which I believe Krebiozen first mentioned) rather than positing an amorphous "We" blob to complain about the tone of a blog, but now you've advanced this:

Yeah, the antivaxxers I know in real life mistrust the medical system as a whole and aren’t specific about the individual parts.

But the obvious response – pointing out that antivaccine cranks rely on either lying through their teeth or ignorantly parroting those lies, generally with an gradual accretion of even more distorted versions of the original – puts you right back at square one, which is demonstrating why they're lies.

As for the various bills, I was never sanguine about the odds of getting rid of religious exemptions, and I've argued with both Dorit and Orac (at a not-so-secret other blogs) about the matter. If you want to get rid of those, it seems to me that a more promising approach is to get rid of the philosophical ones first and then make equal protection (discrimination against the nonreligious) and due process (almost necessarily whimsical enforcement) arguments against the latter.

@ Narad:

I would have to agree.
It always seemed to me that the philosophical exemption was just the religious exemption that was conveniently used by the non-religious.
Although if you think about it, perhaps anti-vaccinationism IS religion.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Narad:
I'm not advocating lying by any means. But I feel like people who care about vaccination rates could do a better job of marketing vaccines.

The great and terrible thing about marketing is that it influences people even though they don't trust the marketers.

By justthestats (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

Though I got the memo that girls don’t hang with guys outside of school pretty young. It helped that I ended up in a private school where I was often placed in classes with older kids. And my class was almost all boys, which, thankfully, eliminated much gossiping.

Huh - I never got that memo, or if I did, I ignored it. I missed a lot of memos, though, growing up.

I went to public school, and I pretty much hated it it after elementary school, mainly because, let's be honest here, I was too smart for the place. I particularly remember getting in trouble a lot in junior high for reading during class - I mean, hey, it wasn't my fault I'd known how plate tectonics worked since second grade. I had a bit of an attitude, too, I suppose, which is not a welcome thing in a basically rural, working class school.

Most of my friends were guys pretty much just because most of the other weirdos and bad seeds were guys, with one or two exceptions. I actually got more flak for looking like a boy than for hanging out with boys, I think.

As for emotional stuff, I tend to have a series of small crisises rather than big huge crashes

I envy you. I have been cursed with a certain amount of northern reserve, or stoicism, or whatever you want to call it, and I tend to neglect my mental health, or bottle things up or whatever, until the point where I do have a major crisis. Other people have noticed this as well.

I’m far too high-strung and fidgety for meditation, and any other religion requires giving up too much.

It's not my intention to proselytize, but if meditation is something you're interested in, being high-strung and fidgety is not an obstacle; a lot of people get into meditation for that reason. If you have a hard time sitting still, you could start with, say, 5 minutes a day and work up from there. Jumping into an hour long meditation-with-chanting-service kind of thing would probably be a little much, though if you kept going with it, you'd eventually want to find a community to practice with.

Most of my friends are now female, which is less me changing than me being unwilling to navigate the minefield of being friends with dudes, which can get very unfortunately complicated very quickly.

Oh, you do have friend! Good. :) Most of my closest friends are still guys, actually, I have to admit. I mean, yeah, there have been a couple weirdnesses here and there, but that's kind of just the price you pay for having relationships. It's better than the alternative, I think.

JP: "have been cursed with a certain amount of northern reserve, or stoicism, or whatever you want to call it, and I tend to neglect my mental health, or bottle things up or whatever, until the point where I do have a major crisis."

I'm fairly stoic too, I just tend to prefer small controlled detonations where people can't see. Or in some cases, in public areas where screaming, shouting and elbowing people is acceptable.

JP: "went to public school, and I pretty much hated it it after elementary school, mainly because, let’s be honest here, I was too smart for the place. I particularly remember getting in trouble a lot in junior high for reading during class – I mean, hey, it wasn’t my fault I’d known how plate tectonics worked since second grade."

That was second grade for me, and a major reason why I transferred. Since the primary school in the school I transferred into was kind of a jumble, I took sixth grade classes in reading, and as long as I was quiet, and did a reasonable amount of work, no one noticed if I zoned out for a half hour or amused myself by working ahead. High school was okay, though, thankfully I was geographically isolated from the other kids and had a reputation as the tough chick- so, I didn't deal with the other girls outside of school much.
I have friends, yeah, I just don't see them much. I prefer solitude, and kinda fret over misunderstandings. Plus there's the problem of accidentally ruining a dude forever, not a responsibility I want.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

Department of That Doesn't Sound Right on Second Thought:

I had been meaning to say that this strikes me as lying something that really happens by virtue of interactions with physicians

I think it was Matt who ventured the result that "approximately 1 in 3" people don't trust their doctors, which trivially proved to be 70% of people not even giving the matter a second thought. I just don't see any promise in the notion of wholly blobular "messaging."

"Where" is the "trust problem"?

There were a few classes where I annoyed the teacher in high school- one persistent mistake I make is pronouncing words as they are read, not as they are said, and I get defensive about mistakes like that. My health teacher was a creep- not an overt one, just having a general air of creepiness, and I disliked the shop teacher, as he took over from a guy I liked.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Mar 2015 #permalink

Plus there’s the problem of accidentally ruining a dude forever, not a responsibility I want.

No offense, but I don't think you're that powerful. People are hard to ruin, let alone to ruin forever, especially accidentally. And any guy worth being friends with in the first place won't be ruined forever because of something romantic happening or not happening, which I'm guessing is what you're concerned about.

I prefer solitude, and kinda fret over misunderstandings.

I like a fair bit of alone time myself - I'm sort of a very gregarious introvert. I don't know where I would be without my friends, though. Probably dead or something.

Misunderstandings happen. Grown-ups hash them out. Boy, I could tell you some stories.

one persistent mistake I make is pronouncing words as they are read, not as they are said, and I get defensive about mistakes like that.

I had a particularly mortifying experience in my first year of grad school when I asked what the word "enjambment" meant, as I had always pronounced it as "en-jam-ment," and I think hadn't ever even heard the Frenchy pronunciation.

@Matt

Thanks for the response, but it feels that you are rather muddled in your libertarian views. One of your first examples was a court enforcing a contract. Isn't that *exactly* what you say you want? That the contract is between two parents and concerns medical treatment should be irrelevant if you are following libertarian principles.

As for the issue of vaccination, you seem to be implying that public school is a right without any corresponding responsibilities. It isn't. For example, a child can be excluded from public school as a result of disruptive behaviour. That means we have an implied contract between the school (government) and the students/family. That contract includes rules intended to facilitate community learning. That includes minimizing the risk that children will miss lessons or die or, through their actions, cause other children to miss lessons or die.

By Niche Geek (not verified) on 17 Mar 2015 #permalink

I don’t believe it is the state’s place to swoop in and protect everybody from all the dangers lurking around every corner.

This suggests you do believe that it is the state's place to protect some people from some dangers, agreed?

By what rational basis does one pick and chose which dangers the state should "swoop in and protect people from" and which dangers they should not?

On re-reading my last post I feel that I imply that I'm a libertarian. For the record, I'm not a libertarian in any meaningful way.

If I have misunderstood your Matt's position then he is obviously free to clarify it. I recognize that I applied a label (libertarian) that he didn't claim for himself and that is always problematic.

Lastly, there are many libertarians and conservatives that see government regulation as inherently evil. They seem to forget that many of the health and safety regulations and systems that we have in place exist because we tried the alternative and realized that it didn't work (or caused a whole lot of suffering... same thing).

We've had private fire departments that only put out fires when you paid for their services - and we had whole cities burn.

We've had free-form construction where anyone could build anything they wanted - and we had whole cities burn.

We've had private land owners use their land to the fullest extent they want - and we've denuded whole islands resulting in mass starvation and societal collapse.

We've allowed people to sell any medicine they like and make whatever claims they want - and many people died and were disfigured.

A court cannot make you whole. Money does not replace a dead child or spouse. Smart contractors form shell companies and declare bankruptcy before they can be sued for shoddy workmanship (and reopen under a different name) - why wouldn't drug, device and other manufacturers do the same thing?

Why do we only hear about rights and not responsibilities?

By Niche Geek (not verified) on 17 Mar 2015 #permalink

Why didn't I proofread that... G'ah.

By Niche Geek (not verified) on 17 Mar 2015 #permalink

Niche Geek: "Why do we only hear about rights and not responsibilities?"

Which is why I suggested that Matt try Somalia, as it has a government more in tune to his philosophy. Especially after his comment on how well he would deal with a septic system.

Based on the decrease in these infections, ken, over the past few years, it seems like hospitals are taking the problem seriously and addressing the problems.

l sympathize with libertarian views to a degree, but I also believe there are a certain set of basic rules that all civil societies need to have and a mechanism for their enforcement. And one of those principles? Making sure that while people can screw their own lives up to their hearts content, they don't screw other people's lives up in the process.

So yeah, when you send your kid to school without vaccinations and put my kid at risk for the measles, I think that's a pretty damn large infringement on my kid's right to live their life the way they see fit.

#474
I'm not sure I follow your logic. If your child is vaccinated how can one without vaccinations put your child at risk unless he is immunocompromised. My children were vaccinated-why would I worry?

#470 2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

If your child is vaccinated how can one without vaccinations put your child at risk unless he is immunocompromised.

1. What do you have against those who are immunocompromised?
2. Vaccines train the immune system to respond to infections, but this is not a 100% guarantee. Some percentage of those vaccinated will not become immune to the disease, just as some percentage of those who catch the disease are not completely immune. If my child were vaccinated but not immune, your unimunized child places my child at risk.

2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

No.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink

2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

Only if the entire vaccinated population consists these two plus two others, for a total population of four people.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink
2 were vaccinated-2 were not out of 4 cases. Is this a 50%failure rate of the vaccine?

Only if the entire vaccinated population consists these two plus two others, for a total population of four people.

That would be a total population of 6 people (the 2 vaccinated who became infected, the 2 vaccinated who didn't become infected, and the two unvaccinated).

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink

(Friend just developed nasty intestinal infection after hospital operation)

How do the statistics compare for at-home and in-the-field operations?

Also worth noting is that these students tested positive for pertussis; it says nothing about the severity of their symptoms. The pertussis vaccine doesn't always prevent infection, but it stimulates antibodies to the pertussis toxin, thus reducing or eliminating symptoms even if infection occurs. This means that a vaccinated person may be infected but not exhibit symptoms, or at least have much milder symptoms than an infected unvaccinated person. This reduces contagiousness by reducing coughing, which play a major role in spreading the disease.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink

To add to the refutation of Matt's tired use of a fallacious argument, a baby died from pertussis. He was too young to be vaccinated.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink

Sorry. Replace "Matt" with "Ken" in my above comment.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Mar 2015 #permalink

Can someone here (including orac) direct me to some collection of definitive studies that prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines? Please leave out the ridicule, the arrogance and appeal to authority, the appeal to popularity, the appeal to emotion, the name-calling and general immaturity. What I am looking for is: objective peer-reviewed studies that clearly show the a) the relative safety and the b) effectiveness of any number of vaccines. It would also be helpful to see evidence refuting anti-vax claims. Seriously, I want to see this. I have genuine concerns about vaccines and I don't trust the hype on either side, because that is what it seems like to me, hype. And not just the CDC's site. Where is the sober, unbiased information about this?

By Concerned Parent (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Concerned Parent: Well, for a start, you could check the WHO webpage and track how many smallpox outbreaks there have been lately. Get back to us when you find them. (Spoiler alert, there aren't any. And the reason why starts with a v. )

And you know, when you refer to facts as hype, it really, really suggests that you aren't actually interested in the studies. I think you took a wrong turn on the internet.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

@Concerned Parent

I appreciate that you want a serious answer, but it would help if you asked a slightly less open-ended question. You ask for evidence that vaccines are effective, in general. Vaccines have been in use for more than a century. In that time there has been a lot of research done by a lot of different people in a lot of different countries (and, to be clear, funded by a lot of different entities). A search on PubMed (an open tool that anyone can use) returns 246,674 publications with the key word vaccine. Of those, 3,038 are systemic reviews. Many of those are in animals, many are for vaccines you likely don't need. Of course that doesn't include the studies that were done in the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the 20th century that aren't online or indexed. I'm not saying this to be a jerk, I'm saying it because you've asked a very broad question. Perhaps if you specified which vaccines concerned you, or even what kind of evidence you'd like to see then you might get a more direct answer. For example, I could point to the eradication of smallpox as evidence that vaccines, at least one of them, work very well and can be, at least in that one case, far far far less harmful then the diseases they treat.

By Niche Geek (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Concerned Parent: "Can someone here (including orac) direct me to some collection of definitive studies that prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?"

Here you go: Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

Now here is a question for you, I am going to list the US Census data on measles incidence for the 20th century. Since you said "prove the claim of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines"... so you now need to tell me why the incidence of measles in the USA dropped 90% between 1960 and 1970. Look at the data, and then give use documented reasons why that happened. Do not mention mortality, any other decade, any other disease nor any other country (despite Mr. Stone and Mr. Miller delusions, England and Wales are not American states):
From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
Year.... Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2
1991 . . . . . .3.8
1992 . . . . . .0.9
1993 . . . . . .0.1
1994 . . . . . .0.4
1995 . . . . . .0.1
1996 . . . . . .0.2
1997 . . . . . . 0.1

Politicalguineapig #486 "Concerned Parent: Well, for a start, you could check the WHO webpage and track how many smallpox outbreaks there have been lately. Get back to us when you find them. (Spoiler alert, there aren’t any. And the reason why starts with a v. )

And you know, when you refer to facts as hype, it really, really suggests that you aren’t actually interested in the studies. I think you took a wrong turn on the internet."

Thank you for your response. Although it is an interesting starting point to seeking more evidence, the lack of smallpox outbreaks isn't entirely conclusive for me. I'm sure you understand that correlation does not equal causation.

It really does seems to me like there's an awful lot of hype on both sides of this issue. It is very difficult to get through to the actual facts when there is so much posturing and emotion. I don't think I took a wrong turn on the internet. This seems like a good place to get some answers, although it seems to contains its fair share of emotion and hype as well. There seem to be a lot of scientists or otherwise pretty intelligent people here, most on the pro-vaccination side of the issue. So a sober presentation of that side shouldn't be hard to find here.

By Concerned Parent (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Niche Geek # 487

Thank you for your response. I realize that my question is broad, but I thought perhaps there is some collection of at least the most conclusive studies. Since, as I mentioned, there is a lot of emotion on both sides here, it is not going to be enough for me to just believe in either side - I need to see the proof itself.

By Concerned Parent (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Chris #488 -

Thank you for your response. That link seems to be just what I'm looking for, thank you. It will clearly take me some time to get through it, but I am looking forward to finding evidence there.

As far as the decline in measles, as I mentioned to the 2 other posters about smallpox - it does seem to point to a link, but correlation can't be considered ultimately conclusive. We would have to rule out every other potential reason, with some degree of certainty, then it would be pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but still not hard evidence.

By Concerned Parent (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

And I get that I may not understand all the factors involved, so feel free to explain things to me (just in a nice, or at least neutral, way - it's hard to read with full attention while being berated). It is true that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, right? Or not?

By Concerned Parent (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Concerned Parent:

It is true that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, right?

Correct. The belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism was initially plausible because the MMR is given at a time when the symptoms of autism become very clear. After thorough investigation, it was confirmed that there was no causation.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 19 Mar 2015 #permalink

Concerned Parent, you still have not provided us with any specific concerns you have about vaccinations.

If you are going to use the phrase "Correlation Does Not Imply Causation" you should be aware of the origins and meaning of that phrase as it applies to the scientific method:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

As far as the decline in measles, as I mentioned to the 2 other posters about smallpox

*koff*

– it does seem to point to a link, but correlation can’t be considered ultimately conclusive. We would have to rule out every other potential reason

*KOFF*

with some degree of certainty

"Were those hysterical screamsI could hear in the kitchen?"

then it would be pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but still not hard evidence.

Please define, specifically, (1) whether the "some" in "some degree of certainty" is supposed to mean anything in particular, (2) what the "degree of certainty" that underlies your "concerns" is, and (3) why you bothered to use the foregoing words in the first place if you can't answer Nos. 1 and 2.

You don't have many options, and none is promising other than changing the subject and pretending that nothing happened until you sniff the possibility to circle back around.

So choose. "Vaxxed/unvaxxed study" as 'stealth' payload fails immediately on your own terms. Ever-diminishing slices of "vaccine injury susceptibles" fails on your own terms.

There's something plainly self-consistent left, right?

@Concerned - you seem to be saying that you don't necessarily believe that vaccines work?

The problem with that thought is that we know exactly how and why the biological process works that allows vaccines to confer immunity - hence how we know that a person who has been vaccinated, when exposed to the pathogen, won't get sick.

The anti-vax brigade has yet to provide any biologically-plausible theories as to why vaccines would be harmful.

There is very good, factual information out there regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines - links have already been provided.

Use a critical eye, but don't be stupid.

Concerned Parent,

I have genuine concerns about vaccines and I don’t trust the hype on either side, because that is what it seems like to me, hype. And not just the CDC’s site. Where is the sober, unbiased information about this?

I don't see any hype on the CDC website, I see sober, unbiased facts supported by peer-reviewed studies. If you don't trust them, the Institute of Medicine (a very eminent non-governmental organization) compiled a comprehensive review of the safety evidence of vaccines a few years ago. You can download it from their website (search for 'institute of medicine vaccine safety').

If you don't trust the IoM, you might look at the WHO information on vaccines, or other countries' websites on the subject, the UK for example. If you really think that all the information about vaccines available from public health organisations globally is hype, I really can't help you.

As for measles vaccine efficacy, we see measles incidence plummet by 99% in every country the vaccine has been introduced routinely, shortly after it is introduced, but not in countries where it is not introduced. We also see outbreaks in countries where it is in routine use when vaccine uptake drops below the herd immunity threshold. The proportion of unvaccinated people who get measles during an outbreak is much higher than the proportion of vaccinated people. Given also the various efficacy studies that were carried out when the vaccine was being developed, I think it is very fair to say that the efficacy and safety of the measles vaccine is beyond reasonable doubt.

You might also look at chicken pox incidence, and see that in the US it is about nine cases per 100,000, and in the UK 1,290 cases per 100,000, with 90% of the population contracting the disease and about 25 people dying of it every year. I struggle to think of any possible reason for this, other than the fact that chicken pox is routinely vaccinated against in the US, but not in the UK.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

OT (almost)

One of my current banner ad is about "Should parents be forced to vaccinate their kids", from some EasyHealthOptions dot com group.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

I got that ad as well, some time ago. If you look at the questions, you know where it's leading to.

@Concerned Parent: like the others, I do understand you want answers. And thankfully, Chris has posted one excellent site. But, as noted above, if you would be a bit more specific, and list the vaccines and concerns you have, we can point you in the right direction for good information.

As far as smallpox: one really good read is "Inside the Outbreaks", about the history of the CDC and the EIS. One section focuses on how smallpox was eliminated - by vaccination (sometimes forced, to be honest) and mandatory quarantine of infected (and possibly infected) persons. Probably neither would have worked alone as fast as the two together.

As a parent, like many of us, I had my children fully vaccinated with all the vaccines - and on time - that were available when they were infants/children. Unfortunately, my kids had to suffer through chickenpox. It's not fun to be up for days with a crying child who is in so much pain you have to give her narcotics for a "simple childhood disease", who is so covered with pox that she can't eat, drink, sit, or lie down. I'd have given anything for them to have had the vaccine, which came out 2 years later.

A question for Concerned Parent:
what reasons do you have to believe that WHO, the CDC and other governmentally sponsored agencies around the world are not to be trusted?
Who IS to be trusted?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink